RMAFC to meet Customs, CBN over import waiver abuse


Worried by the huge revenue the country loses to the existing waiver regime and tax holiday presently operated in the country, the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has resolved to meet with top management of the Nigeria customs service to put a stop to the high rate of revenue losses through the indiscriminate waivers and tax holidays.

Speaking when officials of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, NIPC, visited him in his office, the Chairman of RMAFC, Elias Mbam said his agency had resolved to meet with top management of the Nigeria customs service NCS officials and those of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, to plug areas of leakages.

Mbiam said the waiver regime had led to revenue loss to the Federal Government through the existing waiver regime in the country.

The Chairman said the major concern of the series of meetings would be on how to develop strategies to cut down on the huge losses, which, he said, significantly hurts the economy.

He urged the NIPC to exercise caution and ensure that due diligence is strictly observed in the process of granting pioneer status to companies and businesses in order to check abuses and reduce revenue losses.

Mbam also told officials of NIPC that they would also meet with other revenue generating agencies, namely the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and its subsidiaries as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

The NIPC Executive Secretary, Saratu Umar, said her agency had since inception granted Pioneer Status Incentives to about 410 companies in different sectors of the economy.

These, she said, comprise 175 in the manufacturing, 42 in agriculture and agro-allied, 40 in oil and gas, 35 in Information and communication technology and telecommunications, eight in chemical and four in transport sectors.

Mrs. Umar pointed out that the PSI was a fiscal concession designed by government and backed by law to encourage and promote certain targeted industries, activities, products and services identified by the government as priority areas and growth drivers of the economy.

It was recently reported that the Nigeria Customs Service, said that between 2011 and 2013, import waivers granted various individuals and groups by the Ministry of Finance cost the Federal Government N1.4 trillion.

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had claimed that the government spent only about N171 billion on waivers as incentive to some critical sectors, such as manufacturing, agriculture, power, and gas to boost the growth of the economy.

But the NCS said more than 65 per cent of these ‘incentives’ were reckless, as they were granted for the import/export on questionable and unapproved goods, ranging from rice to fish and kola-nuts, that had no significant bearing on the economy.





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