Presenting a report during yesterday’s plenary, chairman of the Senate Adhoc Committee on Import Duty Waivers, Concessions and Grants, Senator Adamu Aliero bemoaned what he described as large-scale revenue leakages that robbed government of huge sums of money that would have been used for provision of infrastructural development and social services.
The report is a follow up to a motion moved on the floor Senate in January 2016.
The report also said former president Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government approved N106, 711,892,098.14 as waivers, concessions and grants to private companies in 2015 alone.
He blamed the flagrant abuse of the process on lack of synergy among MDAs charged with the responsibilities of administering import duty waivers, concessions and grants.
He specifically named Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Ministry of Industries, Trade and Investment, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), as agencies responsible for the loopholes.
“Customs duty waivers and concessions have been used by the Budget Office of the Federation to entrench a very destructive patronage system to our economy, whereby very few operators in the economy were singled out for favours resulting to unfair competition in the system,” Aliero noted.
Speaking specifically on waivers granted to importers of rice, Aliero said 27 companies benefited from the import quota with a total allocation of 1,434,658 metric tonnes.
In the sugar sector, an estimate of N17.41 billion was lost between 2011-2012.
The committee charged the Federal Government to restructure and streamline the functions and responsibilities of the Budget Office of the Federation in such a way that will prevent it from further abuses and excesses in the import duty waivers, concessions and grants process.