Nigeria losing billions on agro-duty waivers
From AUGUSTINE OSAYANDE
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE Federal Government is losing N71 billion annually on duty waivers especially to importers of food, a senator said as the House urged the Federal Government to stop all waivers on rice importation and the issuing of waivers on all agriculture products.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly has thus established an ad-hoccommittee to look into all waivers and concessions and grants.
The developments follow a motion sponsored by Senator Rafiu Ibrahim,representing Kwara South.
Ibrahim noted that the Federal Government has a policy to encourageAgriculture and Agriculture business as a deliberate policy to diversifythe economy.He observed that the policy, especially relating to agriculture, had become significantly eroded by the indiscriminate abusive grant ofwaivers, concessions and grants especially on rice importation.
“The flagrant abuse of the waiver scheme has severely eroded the FederalGovernment’s Rice Production Policy by importing huge quantities of thecommodity in excess of the their approved quota,” Ibrahim said.
The Senator added that some of the defaulting companies hadnotwithstanding their default were awarded fresh waivers to import morewithin the last few days of the previous administration.“This lose of vast amount of revenue at a time when Nigeria’s main sourceof revenue has plunged to record lows impacting on the fiscal stability ofthe country is reckless and does not show that we are serious aboutdriving our economic revival,” he said.Most Senators in their contribution supported the motion.
Senator PhilipAduda who seconded the motion said the waivers have undermined thedevelopment of the local economy. Senator Dino Melaye alleged that thereis collaboration between officials of the Nigeria Custom and that ofMinistry of Finance in the perpetuation of the crime.Earlier this week, the Nigeria Customs Service allayed any fears amongrice importing companies following the sealing off of four warehouses ofsome defaulting importers.
– CAJ News
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