NIGERIA – Nigerian soybean exporters have raised alarm concerning the rampant misuse of fake import duty documents by unscrupulous importers involved in shipping soybeans to India.
An investigation conducted by analysts revealed the troubling situation where Nigerian importers are using fake import duty papers to sneak soybean exports to India past Customs regulations, breaking the law in the process.
Aarav, a soybean exporter in the country underscored in a letter, the troubling fact that certain importers are employing deceptive tactics to circumvent Customs duty by employing falsified documents.
“Of particular concern is the misuse of phytosanitary certificates and other relevant paperwork, purportedly from the Niger Republic, to gain duty exemptions on soybean imports,” he noted.
“What makes this situation even more alarming is the revelation that the Niger Republic, according to available records and data, does not produce soybeans.”
Aarav has expressed his concerns, stating that the use of counterfeit documents not only poses a threat to the revenue of the Indian government but also raises significant concerns about biosecurity and quality standards.
He underscored that the authenticity of the product’s origin and its quality checks can no longer be guaranteed, potentially jeopardizing the safety and health of consumers.
Therefore the exporter called upon the Department of Plant Protection to take swift and decisive action. Aarav has urged for a comprehensive investigation to trace back recent soybean imports documented as originating from the Niger Republic.
Furthermore, Aarav implored the department to take stringent action against any entities found guilty of employing fraudulent documentation.
He emphasized the importance of implementing legal measures as a deterrent against such activities in the future.
Aarav also noted the critical need to enhance monitoring mechanisms within the import process to prevent similar incidents in the future.
“Tightening control over the import process, according to the exporter, will ensure that fraudulent practices are promptly detected and prevented,” he said.
According to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) soybeans have been one of the top agricultural commodities Nigeria exported in the first quarter of 2023, generating N279.64 billion in revenue.
Soybeans have an average protein content of 40 per cent. It is more protein-rich than any of the common vegetable or animal food sources found in Nigeria, according to the Nigerian Export Promotion Council.
Soybeans were introduced to Nigeria in 1908 and the country first exported in 1947.
Nigeria exported soybeans (both seeds & excluding seeds) to India, Canada, Turkey, Nepal, and Pakistan, to the tune of N38.63 billion in Q1 2023, accounting for 13.8 per cent of the country’s total agricultural exports within the period reviewed.