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Nigeria Loses N585billion To Waivers on Rice, Others –Senate


Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja – Senators revealed on Thursday that a whopping sum of N585 billion was lost by the federal government of Nigeria from 2011 to 2014 to indiscriminate waivers granted on importation of rice and other agricultural products.

This shocking revelation was made on the floor of the senate when a motion on Indiscriminate Use and abuse of waivers for Rice Importation was debated by senators and urged federal  government to stop it forthwith.

The Senate also mandated Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and the Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Dikko, to ensure that all import duties due to government is forthwith recovered.

The upper chamber also set up an ad-hoc committee chaired by Senator Adamu Aliero (APC Kebbi Central) to look into this policy regime and simultaneously carry out its holistic review with a view to determining government revenues lost to waiver policy.

The committee was also mandated to look into all issues relating to waivers, concessions and grants with a view to determining full government revenues in relation to this policy.

Adebayo Ibrahim in his lead debate said the flagrant abuse of waiver scheme has 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 have overshot their quota and consequently owing 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 are granted waivers and thereby denying Nigerians legitimate revenues.

He also said instead of punishing defaulting importers, the outgone federal government rewarded them with fresh waivers to import more in its twilight.

Ibrahim also disclosed that the federal government loses as much as N71 billion on duty waivers to importers of rice, palm oil, energy equipment, steel and vegetable oil annually, recalling how the federal government gave import duty waivers to 10 rice and palm oil importers amounting to N150 billion in 2011.


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