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Audu Ogbeh explains how Nigeria’s rice policy ‘increased unemployment rate in Thailand’



The recent move by the Nigerian Government to ban the importation of rice has led to the collapse of seven rice mills and increased unemployment rate by 4 percent in Thailand, according to the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, said Thailand’s Ambassador to Nigeria expressed sadness over the new rice ban by the Buhari-led Administration.

In his words:

“Just like two weeks ago, the Ambassador of Thailand came to my office and said to me that we have really dealt with them. But I asked what did we do wrong and he said unemployment in Thailand was one of the lowest in the world, 1.2 percent, it has gone up to four percent because seven giant rice mills have shut down because Nigeria’s import has fallen by 95 per cent on rice alone.’’

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari during his new year message pledged that his administration will ban rice import in 2018. This has led a drastic reduction in the volume of rice importation from 644,131 MT to 23,192 MT, or so they believe.

But is there a Smokescreen?

While the Minister of Agriculture’s claim that Nigeria’s import dependence on Thailand has reduced drastically thus increasing their unemployment , Thailand’s rice exports actually rose to 11,628,303MT representing a 17.4% increase year on year.

Top on the chart of countries where Thailand rice exports went to was Benin Republic. The West African country topped the list of export destination with 1,811,164MT, a 26.9% increase in exports year on year. In fact, Thailand export of rice to Benin has more than doubled from the 805,765MT it recorded in 2015.

Nigeria in contrast has seen importation of rice from Thailand drop from 644,131 in 2015 and 58,260MT in 2016 to 23,192MT in 2017. The percentage drop between 2017 and 2016 is about 60% year on year.

Critics of the government suggest the increase in rice exports to Benin by over 1,000,000 MT is largely attributed to the rerouting of the destination of rice imports to Nigeria through Benin Republic, a smuggling haven for contraband goods into Nigeria.

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The minister basically acknowledged this as he alerted the nation on what he described as alarming smuggling of rice along with the western borders of the country.

Why ban importation of rice

According to the government, the ban on the importation  will assist the local rice farmers to produce more at affordable prices for local consumption as well as assist the government to conserve foreign exchange.

Recently, the Rice Farmers’Association of Nigeria RIFAN commended the Council of States for approving one billion dollars to boost agriculture in the country. The funds is being disbursed through the Anchor Borrower Scheme and Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme.

The government also pledged to support local farmers across the country with rice milling equipment like de-stoners and threshers, to help them reduce the cost of production and consequently bring down the local price of rice.

Critics have termed the move to ban rice import as been hasty,  as the country needs at least three years before we can cease importing rice into the country. This also considering the fact that most Nigerians consider rice an important staple food.

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Fikayo has a degree in computer science with economics from Obafemi Awolowo University. ITIL v3 in IT service management. An alumnus of Daystar Leadership Academy. Prior to joining Nairametrics had stinct in Project management, Telecommunications among others. Also training in Consulting and Investment banking from Edubridge Academy. He has very keen interest in Politics, Agri-business, private equity and global economics. He loves travelling and watching football. You can contact him via [email protected]

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Business News

CAC sets 3-hour time line for company registration in 2021

The CAC is prioritising the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just 3 hours before the end of the year 2021.



CAC, Corporate Affairs Commission selects NIPOST as official courier partner

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has said that following the successful deployment of an end-to-end registration module, it was now prioritising the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just 3 hours before the end of the year 2021.

This is coming after CAC had in November 2020, announced the implementation of new technology that will change the face of business registration including allowing customers to print their certificates with verifiable QR code from anywhere in the world.

This disclosure was made by the Registrar-General of the commission, Garba Abubakar, at a dinner in honour of the Chairman, Governing Board, CAC and Nigerian Ambassador-Designate to the Kingdom of Spain, Ademola Seriki.

In order to achieve this target, the Registrar-General said the commission was making arrangements to empower over 400 approving officers with working tools to process and approve registration applications either from home or anywhere necessary,” the agency stated.

Abubakar noted that the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic had adversely hampered CAC’s delivery timeline.

He, however, pointed out that CAC was resolutely committed to serving its customers despite being forced to operate with less than 50% of its workforce.

While bidding farewell to Seriki, the Registrar-General said he received the news of his appointment with mixed feelings as CAC was going to miss his tremendous support and guidance.

Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, described the outgoing CAC Chairman as a man of immense pedigree and endowed with enormous potential to justify the confidence reposed in him by the president.

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In case you missed it

  • The CAC recently announced the upgrade of its website and online registration portal to include features, which allow for the automation of some selected services and processes, in line with the Federal Government’s mandate of improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
  • The selected services and processes include Electronic search of company records, Upgraded Companies Registration Portal for Pre-incorporation filings and Post incorporation filings.


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Corporate deals

DEAL: Nigerian fintech software provider, Appzone raises $10m to scale its products and services

Appzone platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance banks in Africa.



Appzone a fintech software provider that builds proprietary solutions for financial institutions and their banking and payments services announced that it has closed $10 million in Series A investment.

The Series A round was led by CardinalStone Capital Advisers, a Lagos-based investment firm. Other investors include V8 Capital, Constant Capital, and Itanna Capital Ventures. New York-based but Africa-focused firm Lateral Investment Partners also participated.

Founded in 2008 by Emeka Emetarom, Obi Emetarom, and Wale Onawunmi, Appzone functions as an enabler (at payment rails and the core infrastructure) within banking and payments.

READ: Shola Akinlade: The inspiration behind Paystack’s success

Appzone platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance banks in Africa. Together, they amass a yearly transaction value and yearly loan disbursement of $2 billion and $300million.

Before now, Appzone closed a $2 million deal from South African Business Connexion (BCX) in 2014. Four years later, it raised $2.5 million in convertible debt and bought back shares from BCX in the process. But overall, the company says it has raised $15 million in equity funding.

This new funding will be used to scale its products and services and expand across more African countries. The startup also plans to achieve scale by growing its engineering team.

READ: From Chemist to Bank CEO – The Story of Uzoma Dozie

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What they are saying

Yomi Jemibewon, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Cardinal Stone Capital Advisers, said the firm’s investment in Appzone is further proof of Africa’s potential as the future hub of world-class technology.

READ: Bill Gates holds far more cash than Nigeria’s foreign reserve

Appzone is building a disruptive fintech ecosystem that will be the backbone of Africa’s finance industry with products across payments, infrastructure, and software as a service. The impact of Appzone’s work is multifold — the company’s products deepen financial inclusion across the continent whilst providing best-fit and low-cost solutions to financial institutions. Its emphasis on premium talent also helps stem brain drain, rewarding Africa’s best brains with best-in-class employment opportunities.”

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