To ensure accountability of resources and ascertain the usefulness of expenses incurred by the Federal Government in tax waivers, the House of Representatives is asking responsible quarters in the tax and financial administration salient questions in this regard.

In the investigative hearing, the lower chambers of the National Assembly summoned the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, and Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze to demand a comprehensive report on duty waivers granted since 2014.

The summon was prompted on the need to probe the era of tax incentives and import waivers from successive administrations on the operations of Ministries, Department, and Agencies like the Nigerian Customs Service as well as private companies including Sapien Contracting Nigeria Limited, IMB West Africa, Total E&P, Total, and Vixa Pharmaceuticals Nigeria Limited

House of Representatives opens the book.

On the flip side, the investigative hearing was not completely unassociated with the concerns over the country’s dwindling revenue resources and the urgent need for the nation to be self-sufficient in revenue generation.

Outcome of the investigation so far

Taxmobile.Online gathered that according to the documents submitted to Committee by Sapien Consulting Nigeria Limited, the company failed to remit requisite taxes to relevant tax authorities for the sum of ₦131 billion realised in 2016, ₦177 billion in 2017, ₦296 billion in 2018.

Worried by the development, the Committee resolved to investigate the lopsided 2-19 percent capital assets of Sapien Consulting Nigeria Limited which was in favour of foreign companies.

One of the committee members, Hon. Oke has this to say,

“The Minister of Finance and DG Budget would speak to these documents. Both of them should cause appearance. Let us ask DG Budget and Minister of Finance to give us a comprehensive brief on duty waivers they have issued in the period under review.

“We thought we would be seeing waiver letters to Saipem but rather we are seeing them to different companies you are working for. Give them two weeks. Also, invite the beneficiaries of the duty waiver because we are only meeting their contractor here. So we can also research if the items qualify for a waiver,” Oke said.

“Are we saying these pharmaceutical products cannot be produced in Nigeria? Are we not killing local industries? When you have other companies that are producing in Nigeria, you are importing at zero duty. It means you are killing the local business.

“Clerk, invite the Customs, let them come and speak to us why duty on pharmaceutical goods is zero. Let them come and tell Nigerians why local pharmaceutical companies in the country are being taxed and somebody is bringing goods in without duty,” Hon Oke said.

Effective Oversight?

Recall that recently narrated that the upper chambers of the National Assembly; the House of Senate is also investigating other MDAs to check for irregularities.

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