- The Senate has summoned the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, to explain why he lifted the ban on rice importation through land borders.
- The Customs boss is to appear before the Senate’s Ad- hoc Committee on Import Duty Waivers to explain reasons behind his action, which is viewed by the Senate to be above his level, since the order restricting rice importation through land borders was a presidential one issued in 2011.
- This decision to summon Ali was taken after a motion on the dangers posed by the removal of rice from the import restriction list and re-introduction of import duty payment on land borders was presented.
- Presenting the motion on the floor, Senator Muhammed Aliero said that the Senate was concerned that the decision by the Comptroller-General of Customs to liberalize the importation of rice to the extent of lifting the ban on land importation of rice would worsen rice smuggling into the country.
“The Senate is worried that the unilateral and unexpected decision of the CG Customs to re-open the country’s land borders to rice importation will reverse the tremendous gains recorded in rice production in the country.
“The Senate also wants to ensure that the agriculture sector (which) is the dependable lifeline of this country is not harmed beyond immediate repair by the policy inconsistency,” he said.