By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
THE Senate, yesterday, said the Federal Government lost revenue to the tune of N447,451,296,687.87 through waivers, concessions and grants in five years— from 2011 to 2015. The Senate noted that in 2011, the amount lost was N78,489,941,114.74; 2012, N128,538,453,758.99; and in 2013, N46,056,265,355.78; 2014, N87,654,744,360.22 and in 2015, N106,711,892,098.14.
The Senate also asked government to go after Dangote Group and five other companies to recover the appropriate import duty from them to the tune of N10,304,458,203, as beneficiaries of the 2014 rice import quota, against the backdrop that they did not meet the criteria for granting the waivers.
The breakdown of money to be recovered include N1,031.038,848.00 from Dangote Group; N1,927,800,000 from Kersuk; N1,927,800,000 from Bua Group; N3,704,126,328 from Elephant Group; N1,501,627,680 from Golden Penny, N284,602,399.20 and Milan Group, N1,855,263,312.
The Senate also asked the government to, in line with international best practices, take appropriate steps to come up with clear-cut policy on import duty waivers, concessions and grants that would be transparent. It urged government to direct the relevant agencies to recover all outstanding revenues from the companies that abused the import duty waivers, concessions, pioneer incentives and grants before the end of this fiscal year.
According to the Senate, institutional weakness that has bedevilled the system should be strengthened by a review of all relevant laws: Customs and Excise Management Act, Nigeria Export Promotion Council Act, Export (Incentives and Miscellaneous provisions) Act CAP 118 of 1986 (as amended by the Act, No 65 of 1992), among others.
Presenting a 77-page report, Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee on Import Duty Waivers, Senator Adamu Aliero, said the committee observed that there was no synergy among ministries, departments and agencies charged with the responsibilities of administe-ring import duty waivers, concessions and grants.
In the adopted report, Senate asked the Federal Government to, henceforth, stop granting waivers for concessionary import of vehicles for international meetings and conferences, arguing that it often led to unfair competition and that locally-assembled vehicles be used for such events to improve local capacity and contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP.