According to the recent information available, it indicates that Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu has called on rice investors and farmers in Nigeria to be wary of sharp practices that would get them into trouble with government. It was declared that things had changed in the direction of how government conducts its business now, with all seriousness and strict adherence to policies. These remarks were given during the Committee’s interaction with the management of Olam Nigeria Limited in Abuja.
Further, Mr Adamu observed that government had in the past created an enabling environment through policies that made local and foreign investors carry out their businesses in Nigeria but regretted that there was gross abuse of those policies. The Government has done a lot by making sure that there were policies favourable to local and foreign investors, but there were abuse and short changes that forced the authority to make reviews. Furthermore, Olam’s Head of Corporate Communications; Mr. Ade Adefeko explained that the company’s investment in rice farming across the nation, it is worth N177billion.
However, it is sorry to say that incessant review of rice policies in Nigeria had negatively impacted on their investment, while calling on the National Assembly to intervene. While, presenting the activities of the company before Committee members, the team disclosed that Olam and its affiliates across the country was the biggest employer of labour and noted that some of their factories had to be suspended due to some exigencies.
Further, in this regard, it was revealed that although there is a highest employer of labour today in Nigeria but due to some difficulties occasioned by policy instability, we have to suspend few of our factories as told by Mr Ade .According to him, the suspension of Export Expansion Grant (EEG) by the federal government and the sum of N3.7billion being owed the company by federal government was affecting them. However, we are calling for intervention of the Senate in areas of restoring suspended (EEG) and payment of outstanding N3.7b FGN owes us to enable us to continue in business.
During the discussion on this issue, a member of the Committee, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi reminded Olam management of illegal rice importation waiver to the tune of N400billion, which Senate Committee on Customs and Excise Duties was already investigating. It was urged to come out clean if they were involved, citing that the present administration was ready to do all it can do to recover those monies. If you know you got into trouble as a result of illegal waivers, which the Committee on Customs and Excise Duties was already investigating, it will be better to come out clean because this government of change is ready to recover those funds said Mr Sabi.