The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh says the government of Thailand has accused the Nigerian government of being responsible for the collapse of its seven rice mills as rice importation from the Nigeria fell drastically.
According to TheNation, the minister made this known at a meeting in Abuja, on Friday. Ogbeh said Thailand’s Ambassador to Nigeria made the “accusation’’ when he visited him in February.
According to the minister, the ambassador lamented that the collapse of the rice mills has increased the unemployment rate in his country from 1.2% to 4%.
“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%, it has gone up to 4% because seven giant rice mills have shut down because Nigeria’s import has fallen by 95 per cent on rice alone.
So, Mr President we thank you for the support and we thank all the agencies and those of you in the private sector for your resilience,’’ he said.
The minister, however, alerted the nation on what he described as alarming smuggling of fake fertiliser and rice along the western borders of the country. He, therefore, called on the FG to take drastic measures to check the trend as all previous diplomatic measures had failed to address the menace.
‘Information reaching my desk indicates that some unscrupulous elements are smuggling in fake rice and fertiliser into the country through the Western borders. I will want to implore the government to take swift actions against this and also want to charge the Nigeria Custom Service to deploy their men to the interior communities in those areas to check this menace’