Senate urges government to stop waivers on conference vehicles

Edwin Akwuwh, Abuja

The Nigerian Senate has called for a total removal of waivers for concessionary import of vehicles for international meetings and conferences.

the senate argued that such waivers lead to unfair competition in the automobile sector.

Senate’s recommendation which was part of the outcome of Tuesday’s plenary, also noted that locally assembled vehicles should be used for international events hosted in Nigeria so as to boost domestic capacity and enhance the gross domestic product.

The 22 point recommendations followed Senate’s consideration of the report of its ad-hoc committee on import duty waivers, concessions and grants on the indiscriminate use and abuse of waivers.

The Senate also advised the government to recover the appropriate import duty from six companies that benefited from the 2014 rice import quota because they did not meet the criteria for granting the waivers.

A copy of the committee’s report obtained by Voice of Nigeria showed that the six companies were listed as follows; DANGOTE LIMITED, KERSUK FARMS, BUA GROUP, ELEPHANT GROUP, GOLDEN PENNY, & MILAN GROUP. The total amount said to have been waived for these companies according to the report is =N=10, 304, 458, 203.00.

The upper legislative chamber also declared as illegal, the purported transfer of 100,000 metric tons of rice by JNI to Elephant Group, noting that the import duty amounting to =N=687,496, 320.00 should be recovered from Elephant Group while officials involved in the transaction be sanctioned for economic sabotage.

The report stated that the waiver was meant as charity waiver (donated food stuffs) and not for commercial purpose.

The Senate also urged government to conduct further investigation on the utilization of the concessions by eleven hotels which used fictitious addresses to obtain the waiver.

Senate President Bukola Saraki while ruling on the recommendations, warned business operators in Nigeria to act responsibly and abide by the rules or risk being shot out from the Nigerian business environment.

Other recommendations by the ad-hoc committee stated that, the Nigeria Customs Services should only accept bank indemnity and not corporate indemnity to avoid future loss of revenue to the government.

It also urged the government to stop forthwith, the granting of multiple incentives of import duty waivers, concessions, pioneer incentives, and grants, all at the same time to the same beneficiaries.

Senate further recommended for the sanctioning of relevant government agencies such as Budget office of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development that carried out due diligence prior to award of waivers, concessions, grants and pioneer incentives to undeserving companies.

Confidence O.