- As Kachikwu says N4.74tn spent on fuel imports in 2016
The Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff has summoned the management of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele and Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, as the Committee renewed its investigation over an alleged N30 trillion import duties infractions.
”The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria has been directed to appear with the managing directors of all commercial banks responsible for collecting Import Duties and levies on behalf of the Federal Government”, the Chairman of the committee, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, told newsmen in Abuja, adding that the invitation was equally extended to the managing directors of all commercial banks, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
They are expected to appear before members of the committee on Tuesday.
”All managing directors are expected to be here in person as the committee will not allow representation.
”We will also invite FIRS that has the statutory responsibility of ensuring that all taxable issues are resolved as and at when due.
”We are also inviting CAC that has the identity of the operating companies in Nigeria.
”The Nigerian Customs Service, the Department of Trade and Exchange of the CBN are expected at the meeting.
”We will meet to discuss our findings with them and ask questions. We will then move into companies that are currently operating what we call cartek in the country.
”These companies have evaded so much taxes running into so much money that government would have used for the provision of social services and critical infrastructure.
”You will recall that the Senate mandated the committee to investigate the entire import and export value chain.
”This is with a view to identifying areas of revenue leakages and to what extent all these monies have been carted away.
”We have done some preliminary investigation and we have identified areas of infractions and we have collected necessary documents from relevant agencies of government and the private sector,” he indicated further, assuring Nigerians that the Committee would recover a substantial part of the money, in addition to dragging culpable ones before the EFCC as deterrent.
In the meantime, in the last one year, the country has spent about N4.74tn on the importation of petroleum products, an amount that is made up of N3.4tn for the actual products and N1.34tn on logistics.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, who stated this at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, said, “The importation of petroleum products between January and December of last year amounted to about 20 million metric tonnes. A total amount of N3.4tn was spent.
“The consumption of foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria was approximately 30 per cent of the CBN’s total foreign exchange outlay, and the logistic cost of that importation was about N1.34tn within the same one year period.”
Explaining why the country must end the importation of refined petroleum products, he added, “The domestic refining capacity as of today is six million litres out of a total consumption of about 35 million litres, averaging less than 25 per cent.
“In the midst of this sort of statistics, it is absolutely critical that we move in to try to end importation of products, improve our refineries and get them up to 100 per cent nameplate.”
The minister also said the government had neither given out any of the refineries to private investors as concessions nor had disposed them.
According to him, no financier has been selected to revamp the refineries as the government is still searching.
He also stated that the Federal Government would require about $1.2bn to repair and bring the four refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna up to 100 per cent production level.
Kachikwu said, “Internally, we have been able to determine the sort of amount that will be required to do this work in terms of what work is really required to be done. The total cumulative amount is in the $1.1bn and $1.2bn category between all the refineries.
“And that, of course, does not include the pipelines. You have got to address the pipelines and that is something else that is being done.”
He stated that so far, no financier had been selected for the refineries as planned, adding that what had happened was that advertisements were placed in some national and international newspapers in April last year seeking financiers to fund, rehabilitate and jointly operate the refineries.
This, the minister said, was in order to increase the capacity utilisation of the facilities and that nowhere in those adverts was it stated that there would be a transfer of the assets to any eventual successful financier.
Additional report from Punch