Senate Directs CBN To Recover Illegal N30b Import Waivers | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Senate Directs CBN To Recover Illegal N30b Import Waivers

Posted: Jul 9, 2015 at 12:44 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

• You Must Pluck Revenue Leakages – Saraki

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By Ignatius Okorocha, Isuma Mark  (Abuja)


The Senate on Wednesday directed the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele to collaborate with the Nigeria Customs Services and ensure the recovery of an estimated sum of N30billion waiver given to companies for the purchase of rice by former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki gave this marching order at a three hours interactive meeting with the management of the apex Bank with Senators in Abuja.

The CBN governor had in the course of briefing the Senate on the corporation’s economic policies within the current fiscal year, revealed that an estimated sum of N30 billion was given as waivers on taxes and duties to some companies for the purchase of foreign rice.

Saraki in response to this disclosure angrily directed the apex bank to liaise with the Nigeria Customs Service to recover the money without further delay.

He noted that the N30bn waiver was illegally granted to some category of importers

He said: “Our policy is that, after listening to you, believe that they are steps taken in the right direction to try to help our economy in the area of import and export substitution.

“But one of the observations we also made was that the CBN alone cannot make it all work in this area.

“We must also show big signals in things that we bring out the success of this policy, for example, you brought to our notice, the issue of the waivers on taxes and duties especially on rice which is about N30bn that were granted to certain companies, this money must be paid back to the federal government”.

Continuing Saraki said, “We have told the governor of central bank that, he should also go and collaborate with customs to ensure that this N30bn come back to the government coffers, so that we will be seen to be doing things to make this policy successful.

“The issue of smuggling is the second thing, because no matter how good this policy on import substitution looks, if smuggling can still be going on the way it is now, this policy will not be successful. That area as well, especially the big smugglers that are well known, it is time action is taken to stop it”.

The President of the Senate reiterated the need to de-emphasise the craze for imported agricultural products and urged the CBN to encourage local farmers with soft loan to boost their performance.

“Thirdly, all other items that fall under agriculture that we can produce locally must be reviewed. We also stressed the need to continue to work closely with the CBN by meeting regularly to review the policy so that we can look at the effectiveness of the policy,” he noted.

Saraki also stressed the need for fiscal discipline in the apex bank dealing with agencies of government that generate revenue to the consolidated account of government to ensure that there is no leakage in revenue collection.

“The key issue is also, fiscal discipline, we can not de-emphasise this. The CBN must know those agencies of government that had in the past, not been sending revenue straight to the consolidated revenue purse and you must play a role in ensuring that this is done because a lot of agencies are used to this act of impunity and it is time we insist these agencies bring the money back”.

“We have seen that there is a slight increase in the foreign reserves due to that level of fiscal discipline and this must be sustained.  Also, there must be participation of other organs like the Ministry of agriculture, Trade and Investment because the CBN alone cannot push this without the cooperation of other organs,” he remarked.

Earlier in his brief, the CBN governor Mr Godwin Emefele had informed the Senate that certain developments in the nation’s economic growth has shown triple growth indicating an increased GDP by 6.2 percent in 2014 adding that it slowed to 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2015 down from 4.9 percent before the last quarter of 2014.