The former Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tincan Island Chapter, Dr. Kayode Collins Farintho has called on the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to make public, the names of Nigerians and non Nigerians alike who benefit from the Federal government Waiver system.
Farintho, who was reacting to the recent figure released by the federal government as the amount granted in waiver between the month of January and May, 2014 which was put at #28.5 billion, observed that the demand was necessary to enable Nigerians know whether or not those who were benefiting from such waivers actually deserve them.
He stated that waiver was good for a growing economy or developing nation like Nigeria as it would help some small and medium scale industries who are yet to find their foot to come up and stabilize so as to compete favourably with already existing ones in the society
He lamented the situation where politicians who had no business producing or manufacturing anything were given waivers at the detriment of the real industry people who should have maximized the waivers effectively for the good of the Nigerian economy and in the overall interest of the citizens.
According to him,” waiver is like a cushion to cushion the effect and to create a level playing ground with others that have established. But unfortunately, our own waiver has been bastardized; it is now an act of patronage. That is why I am disappointed with the Honourable Minister of Finance. Let her tell us all those that are enjoying the waivers and I bet you, if that is done, you will cry for this country”.
“Even people who are politicians, people who are not producing anything are getting waiver when federal government is insisting that rice should come in at 10 percent duty and 100 percent levy, we have people who are core politicians and they are given waivers to bring in rice. Are they not killing the economy of this country? Are they not killing the man who had actually gone to Thailand or to India to bring in rice? He is now paying duty of 10 percent and levy of 100 percent when you are giving waivers to those people. It s criminal, it is corruption, I will never happen in advanced or developed countries”.
“That is why I call on the Honourable Minister of Finance to give us the data of who had actually enjoyed waivers”.
Dr. Kayode recalled that because the waiver system was being bastardized, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Nigeria Customs Service almost had a collision course early in the year due to the discrepancies in the figures released by the two organs as the total amount granted in waiver in the out gone year of 2013 and beyond adding that the development was not healthy for the economy.
The former ANLCA Chairman however disclosed there were actually two committees in the National Assembly which were collating data in respect to who benefited from the Federal government waivers saying that if care was not taken, a lot of people might be indicted by those committees at the end of their operation.
Speaking on the rising amount granted in waivers annually, Farintho had this to say,” it cannot go down because the economy is growing, because of the growing economy, waiver is inevitable. It will continue to go up but when people apply for waiver, you now look at those people; do they deserve to be given waiver? Does it not have political undertone? Is it helpful to our economy? Look at the Nigeria Customs Service enlisting their men at the borders, losing their men on daily basis to people who are smuggling rice and that person is now bringing in rice through a legitimate means with the assistance of the government. It is criminal”.