Multinational companies, Olam and Stallion, have denied any wrongdoing in the current investigation by the Senate ad hoc committee on waivers on rice importation into the country.
Representatives of the two companies in their presentations before the committee on Tuesday gave detailed explanation of their allocated quotas for rice importation, to the effect that they have fulfilled all remittances to the Federal Government.
Controversy has trailed the implementation of the import waiver policy by the Ministry of Agriculture that issued retrospective quotas in December 2014 when the country’s peak demand rice season was almost over.
On Tuesday, the companies submitted their reports denying any abuse of the rice policy and have indeed paid in the stipulated duty of 30 per cent applicable to them.
Stallion Group specifically underlined the fact it had fully paid N17.15 billion in duties and levies for its imports and therefore has not evaded anything due to the government.
Olam, on the other hand, claimed that it had the largest rice farm in Africa and that it had been operating in Nigeria in the past 35 years, arguing that given its long period of business operation in Nigeria, the company will not consider shortchanging the nation and has filed a suit in the law courts for determination.
Stallion Group submitted on Tuesday that the rice import by its companies were governed by the content and stipulations of the 2014-2017 fiscal policy measures on rice by the federal government, and are not duty waivers as misunderstood by in some quarters.
It stated further that rice production companies have applied to the country’s courts to determine if the additional retrospective duties meant for traders are payable by bonafide rice millers.
Stallion stated that it had no choice but to approach the country’s judicial system for relief and fair judgement.
The company also assured the Senate Committee that the group will duly abide by the court’s final determination after a due process and is fully committed to the country’s quest for self-sufficiency in rice production.
Olam also contended to the committee that given its long period of business operation in Nigeria, the company will not consider shortchanging the nation, and according to its representative, the company was seeking a legal determination on the matter by the law courts.