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Market Digest Nigeria

Finance

Reps discovered illegal N5bn Duty Waiver granted to Chinese firm

Waiver

The House of Representatives said it has discovered an illegal N5 billion Duty Waiver granted to a Chinese firm, China Habour, by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), during negotiations for loans with the company.

Waiver

While speaking at the investigative hearing into a query issued by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) against the NCS on Wednesday, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Wole Oke, said his committee uncovered the illegal waiver while going through the details of the contract.

The controversial waiver was said to be for the importation of some items and materials which could have been sourced locally.

Oke who expressed his disappointment at the waivers, said the committee was livid with the various regulatory agencies that approved such waivers in breach of due process and extant financial regulations.

Oke added that the waivers had a “huge negative impact on the Nigerian economy as it has left it bleeding,” urging the House’s various standing committees to step up their oversight functions to prevent such aberrations in the future.

“The solution is that we should step up our oversight and ensure that nobody is undermining the revenue accruing to this country, either through these schemes I’ve mentioned or fraudulently.

“Like in the case of China Harbour, China Harbour got a contract in Nigeria through contract financing and then you are claiming Duty Waiver of over N5 billion on items and materials that are available in Nigeria. They are importing them; they kill local industries, you are injuring us from both ends.

“We have to resolve that the MD of China Harbour should make an appearance. All they are trying to do is to cover-up. When it comes to capital flight, they don’t mind, but they are running away when it comes to accountability.

“And those who granted the Duty Waiver, we must ask them, and that’s why we invited the Ministry of Finance to defend the Duty Waiver they gave to you.

“Their company is bringing in cement when Dangote Plc is producing in Obajana. We have in Okpella, Ewekoro, Ibesi and also pay the duty. Meanwhile, they charge Dangote duty when they bring equipment.”

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