The controversy surrounding the loans obtained by Nigeria from China assumed a disturbing dimension as the House of Representatives on Wednesday uncovered N5bn waiver illegally obtained by a Chinese firm.
Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Wole Oke, made the disclosure while speaking at the investigative hearing into the audit query issued by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (oAuGF) against Nigeria Customs Service (NSC).
The Committee was livid with the various regulatory agencies that approved such waivers in breach of due process and extant financial regulations, Vanguard reports.
Oke said that the waivers had a huge negative impact on the economy as it has left it bleeding. He urged the House’s various standing committees to step up their oversight functions to prevent such aberrations.
He said, “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!
The Committee also resolved to summon Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Secure and Anchorage Company responsible for collecting revenue ranging between $3,000 to $4,000 per vessel at the ports.
In their separate presentations, representatives of the companies invited, including A-Z Petroleum who have subsidiary companies; Longman (now Learn Nigeria) said the receipt of capital allowances on some transactions carried out including books imported for free and printed overseas.