The senate on Tuesday uncovered how Bua group, Dangote Nigeria Limited, Stallion group and others involved in N447 billion waivers scam under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
This was revealed during the consideration of the report of Senate Ad hoc Committee on Import Duty Waivers, Concession and Grant chaired Senator Adamu Aleiro.
Aleiro 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.
According to the breakdown by the committee chairman, in 2011, N78,489,941,114.74 was lost through waivers, concessions and grants to different private companies who were engaged in importing goods to the country.
In 2012, the federal government lost N128,538,453,758.99. Similarly, in 2013, the Senate report claimed that N46,056,265,355.78. In 2014, N87,654,744,360.22.
Senator Aliero, 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.
In the report, Stallion Group/Popular foods, Olam International Limited, Elephant Group, Bua Int Ltd, Honeywell Group, Dangote Group, and Ibeto Group were listed among a string of companies which have been benefitting from import duty waivers and concessions.
According to Aliero, the findings of the committee are:
“That 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 in unfair competition in the system.
“That’s as a result of the application of the above discriminatory system, many would-be investors were discouraged from investing in Nigeria as many local and foreign investors had cited this as one of the reasons for not having interest to invest in the country.
“The above is buttressed by the favours and patronage dispensed to the following companies to name a few to the detriment of the other operators in economy:
– Stallion Group/Popular foods,
– Olam International Limited,
– Elephant Group,
– Bua Int Ltd and,
– Honeywell Group- rice sector.
– Dangote Group,
– Ibeto Group and,
– Bua Int Ltd- cement sector.
– Meditarion Nig Ltd and Bua Sugar- sugar sector.
While Coscharis, Globe Motors, Stallion Group are in automobile sector.”
After the presentation of the report, the senate resolved to urge the federal government to take appropriate steps to come up with clear-cut policy on import duty waivers, concessions and grants.
It also advised that “the current patronage system that hampers fair economic competition and performance should be stopped, and that totally undeserving firms and companies that illegally enjoyed customs duty waivers, concessions and grants procured through flagrant abuse of executive powers must be made to refund such huge revenue losses to the federation and appropriate sanctions meted out to them for economic sabotage”.
Accordingly, the Senate has mandated relevant agencies of government to recover N10.3 billion from six companies that benefited from rice importation quota in 2014.
According to the Red Chamber, the six companies did not meet the criteria for granting the waivers.
The affected companies are Dangote Limited , N1.031billion, Kersuk Farms, N1.927billion, Bua Group, N3.704billion and Elephant Group, N1.501billion.
Others are, Milan Group, N1.855billion and Golden Penny, N284, 602, 399.20k
Meanwhile, Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, has denied claims that the probe is targeted at former president Goodluck Jonathan.
He said lawmakers were after what was done wrong during the period under review and not the occupant of the office of the president.
Ndume also charged President Muhammadu Buhari to intensify efforts towards recovering the huge sums lost to abuse of waivers, concessions and grants.
He said if the money is recovered, it will help the government in meeting some financial needs.
He revealed that the various committees will monitor the progress made by the Federal Government in recovery the monies, adding that it will not be business as usual.