Chinese Rice Donation To NEMA, intact – DG
Engr. Mustapha Maihaja, Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA), yesterday said the 135,500 bags of rice the Chinese Government donated to the Federal Government were still intact.
He said that none of the bags of rice, which were meant for the Internally Displaced Persons, (IDPs), was either missing or diverted upon arrival.
Naija News learnt that the bags of rice are being kept in warehouses in Maiduguri and Yola pending the completion of the clearance of the huge volume at the ports in Lagos.
Maihaja said: “About 135,500 bags of rice, worth about N2.4billion, were donated to Nigeria by the Chinese Government. The actual clearance started in January and those already offloaded are being kept in warehouses in Maiduguri and Yola. The bags of rice were not missing and they were not diverted.
“The delay in completing the clearance was caused by the inherent process including securing exemptions. Waivers and other clearance related matters.
“This delay in clearing government goods is not only peculiar to this exercise, it is applicable to many. The Federal Government has noted the inherent process of clearing goods and it is looking at eliminating the causative factors.
“As soon as the clearance is completed, the bags of rice will be offloaded and distributed to the IDPs.”
Maihaja added that: “As soon as we secured the necessary documents, we liaised with all relevant agencies concerned with clearing but we have to invoke Section 43 (1)b of the Emergency Act because the good has stayed for six months in the port.
“Secondly, it was a tough decision to take considering the situation we found ourselves in. We have to consider the condition of the people of the region that is North-East, who are in danger of hunger and famine. We also have to consider the condition of the rice too.
“We are still in the process of procuring the rest of the material, but we have taken possession of 110 containers and they are in two locations in Maiduguri and Yola.
“We had to follow that pattern to save the item and the people. There are still some in the port but all expenses are incurred by NEMA, though we have not paid on clearing a little above N400m have been paid on demurrage for the total consignment.
“With all sincerity of purpose, the problem is about the process which involved three agencies. The process should be looked at.”
The representative of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Samuel Iloma, a Deputy Director said: “We thought with the collection of the waiver, NEMA will just go and distribute but we got to understand later that the clearance is much more than that. That was why we approached a clearing firm about what’s involved to do the clearing and it was then we were told it is going to involve money to get the necessary documents.”
Source: Naija News