Reps Probe Alleged Exportation Of Rotten Yam
The phrase economic diversification has become synonymous with the Buhari administration's drive to end the nation's dependence on crude oil.
But it seems an over excited or under pressure executive forgot to dot the Is and cross the Ts.
The House of Representatives says it is not going to sit and watch the Ministry of Agriculture continue with an act that does not only disregard the law, but also brings shame to Nigeria as a nation.
On Wednesday, a lawmaker, Jonathan Gaza, who is a member of the APC, raised a motion on the the "need to determine why food products prohibited from exportation are being exported and also did not meet international standards".
He told the House that rotten yams were exported. This he says raises concerns about the capacity of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to check the quality of goods billed for export.
"Recall that 72 tonnes of yam tubers were exported sometime in June 2017 but were rejected by the United States of America, as they were found to have rotten upon arrival," he said, emphasising that the development had caused the nation great embarrassment.
"It is now obvious that produce approved for export by the government do not meet world standards for exportation.
“The (Prohibition) Act, Cap. E22, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 lists Beans, Cassava tuber, Maize, Rice, Yam tuber and their product derivatives as goods absolutely prohibited from exportation from Nigeria.
"A Bill for an Act to repeal the provisions of the Export Prohibition Act has recently passed second reading in the House," he stated.
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After deliberations, the House mandated its Committees on Agricultural Production, Services and Customs and Excise to investigate the Federal Ministry of Agriculture regarding exportation of yam tubers.
Others expected to be probed are Comptroller-General of Customs and the Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Director-General, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Head, Nigerian Quarantine Service and heads of all other relevant agencies.
The Ministry had in June launched the yam exportation programme which it said would earn $10 billion in foreign exchange over the next 4 years.