Abuja - The Federal Government is losing N71 billion annually on duty waivers especially to importers of food, a senator said as the House urged the Federal Government to stop all waivers on rice importation and the issuing of waivers on all agriculture products.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly has thus established an ad-hoc committee to look into all waivers and concessions and grants.
The developments follow a motion sponsored by Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, representing Kwara South.
Ibrahim noted that the Federal Government has a policy to encourage Agriculture and Agriculture business as a deliberate policy to diversify the economy.
He observed that the policy, especially relating to agriculture, had become significantly eroded by the indiscriminate abusive grant of waivers, concessions and grants especially on rice importation.
“The flagrant abuse of the waiver scheme has severely eroded the Federal Government’s Rice Production Policy by importing huge quantities of the commodity in excess of the their approved quota,” Ibrahim said.
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The Senator added that some of the defaulting companies had notwithstanding their default were awarded fresh waivers to import more within the last few days of the previous administration.
“This lose of vast amount of revenue at a time when Nigeria’s main source of revenue has plunged to record lows impacting on the fiscal stability of the country is reckless and does not show that we are serious about driving our economic revival,” he said.
Most Senators in their contribution supported the motion. Senator Philip Aduda who seconded the motion said the waivers have undermined the development of the local economy. Senator Dino Melaye alleged that there is collaboration between officials of the Nigeria Custom and that of Ministry of Finance in the perpetuation of the crime.
Earlier this week, the Nigeria Customs Service allayed any fears among rice importing companies following the sealing off of four warehouses of some defaulting importers.
- CAJ News