Buhari’s Ban on Rice Importation is a Bad Economic Policy

In August 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari announced a decision to partially close the Nigeria-Benin border due to smuggling activities, especially of rice, into the country. Later in October, the decision was made indefinite with the government arguing the policy would encourage the local production of rice. While the government prides itself on promoting local production, rice traders are bitterly complaining about low sales as customers groan at the low quality of local rice; they often demand Indian and Thai brands instead. The Governor of the Central Bank revealed that rice farmers in Nigeria are telling consumers to ‘hold-on’ while they process orders due to power outage affecting processing machines. It is simple economics: people will avoid expensive and low-quality local rice and prefer more affordable brands. This, unfortunately, would be bad for local farmers.

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