The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts on Monday summoned the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Director-General, Budget Office, Ben Akabueze and other officials of the Ministry of Finance to shed lights on duty waivers granted to some companies
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Busayo Oluwole Oke (PDP-Osun) handed down the order at the ongoing investigative hearing on audit queries raised by the Auditor General of the Federation on accountts of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government and some private companies in Abuja.
Oke said that the DG budget and the Minister should cause appearance before the Committee within seven days to clear the air on the duty waivers granted to Saipem Contracting Ltd on N468 million worth of equipment and other items it imported into the country.
He said, “Why can’t we ask the Minister and the DG to give us a comprehensive list of waivers granted these companies within 14 days. We should also invite the beneficiary companies that got waivers., we want to see these items and the value of the duties paid on them”.
Fielding questions from the lawmakers Melvin Ponshak Daje who represented the Managing Director of Saipem Contracting Ltd said that they paid their duties directly to the equipment manufacturers.
He also told the Committee that Saipem is an indigenous oil servicing company that was involved in oil facilities servicing with the major oil producing companies in Nigeria.
He informed the Committee that the company had been involved in the oil business for over fifty years and added that they engage in importation of oil servicing equipment from all countries of the world.
Other Committee members, including Hon. Bulus Maren (Plateau, PDP) raised questions on the timing of the payment of the import duty by the company.
The committee also grilled the management of Crocodile Matchet Ltd on duty payments and other issues.
A representative of the Managing Director of the firm, Ehi Osezuah however said that they had not done importation for a long time.
Oke who had earlier noted that some of the invited companies had submitted that they have import duty exemption however demanded that the invited companies avail the Committee the description of imported machines, value of invoices and country of importation.
He further said that the Committee Clerk should write to Federal Ministry of Industry, Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Immigration Service on the issues that pertain to their respective operations on the matter.