Senate Panel Begins Probe Of Abuse Of Waivers
THE Senate’s Ad- Hoc Committee set up to carry out holistic review of all waivers granted during the last administration has began Work. The committee was set up to investigate all revenue losses Nigeria suffered as a result of the waivers.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi Central), in a chat with journalists after the sitting of the committee, said the details of revenue losses would be made open during the public hearing and in the final report the committee would submit to the Senate.
He said: “We have sent letters of invitations to MDAs like the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria and of course, the Nigeria Customs Service, to give us relevant information that will help us to carry out the assignment given us to unearth the rot waivers have caused in the system. “We are very happy with the responses we have got so far from the MDAs.
What we are doing now is to start compiling the reports and make our recommendations before which a public hearing will be held where the abuse of the policy either by importers or relevant government agencies will be made open to Nigerians.”
Aliero added that the committee would be meeting again next week Tuesday, where final decisions would be taken on how it would go about the public hearing.
The Senate had on the strength of a motion moved by Senator Rafiu Ibrahim (APC, Kwara Central) in July, where he alleged that Nigeria lost N585 billion between 2011 and 2014 to waivers on rice and other food items, set up the committee to among others, look into this policy regime and simultaneously carry out its holistic review with a view to determining government revenues lost to waivers scheme.
Adebayo in the motion entitled “Indiscriminate Use and Abuse of Waivers for Rice Importation and others” alleged that the flagrant abuse of waiver scheme had severely eroded Federal Government’s rice production policy by allowing importation of huge quantities of the commodity in excess of their approved quota.
According to him, a recent Senate interaction with CBN revealed how importers had overshot their quota and consequently owed the Federal Government import duties running into billions of naira.
He further argued that instead of importers paying as huge as 70 per cent duties and levies to the Federal Government, they were granted waivers and thereby denied Nigerians legitimate revenues.