The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Account, Hon Oluwole Oke has accused multinational companies operating in Nigerian of massive taxe evation.
Speaking while briefing the Minister and his team on the purpose of the invitation by the Committee, the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Account, Rep. Busayo Oluwole Oke disclosed that several companies operating in the country were in the habit of not paying the required revenue to government leading to lack of revenue for the operation of the government services.
According to him, “Nigeria is bleeding. We are borrowing daily to finance our budget and the Minister of Finance had said that the reason we are borrowing is because we are not collecting the revenue we are supposed to collect.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otumba Niyi Adebayo on Thursday raised the alarm that several African countries were lobbying Companies registered and operating in Nigeria to leave Nigeria and relocate to such countries.
The Minister raised the alarm when he appeared along with the Agencies under his Ministry before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts over queries from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation
He however disclosed that the Federal government was doing everything possible to ensure that such companies don’t leave the country under any guise
The Minister explained that many of the countries involved , including Ghana had increased their capital allowances to companies and had already taken away lots of investment from the country, saying that what was keeping some companies in the country today was its population.
He said the government was looking for ways of increasing the level of new investment in the country and sustaining existing ones, saying “our duty is to support investment growth In Nigeria. It is public knowledge that getting these investment is increasingly becoming difficult today”.
“The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment had issued some instruments which earned companies tax breaks and tax holiday. But this scheme had been abused by the companies.
“When some of these companies appeared before this committee, we noticed from their presentation elements of tax invasion. For example, China Habour got a waiver of N5 billion to import nails and wire nets. In my village, we have a company that manufactures nails, but cost of manufacturing nails locally is higher than those imported. So, how do we encourage local production?
” The same company invaded some of the schemes of government and they are seeking to have Pioneer status. We also have a company that has been existing in Nigeria since 1979 and has never paid one Kobo to the government. ALSCON has been in operation and has not paid a single Kobo to government coffer.
“There is a company that put up a show and ursurp the fuction of NEPZA who are supposed to remit it’s operating surplus. But it’s licensees have undermined the agency.
Millions of dollars that are supposed to go into NEPZA’a coffee are going into private pockets. That is why we are trying to find out if there is the need to review existing laws because the Parliament will not allow the country to continue to bleed.
“MTN gave us certificate if acceptance worth N2.6 trillion and claimed to be the highest tax payers in the country. We are asking them to provide us evidence of how they got those certificates. That is where we are right now.
“Globacom, Airtel and 9 Mobile are running away. But the law will catch up with them. We are aware that they have spent so much on their investment and so don’t want to be party to dragging their names in the mud. But they must come before parliament to defend the capital allowances they have collected”.
Speaking on the operations of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, Oke said “some licensees claimed to have made payment to you which we cannot see. For example, AGIP claimed have paid millions of dollars to you. I checked the records of your submission and cannot find even one million dollars tracable to a single company.
“They also filed for capital allowance with FIRS and FIRS has given effect to that without the certificate of acceptance issued by the Ministry of Industry. We have asked for evidence of exception and there is none. We have also asked for a list if the assets they imported that qualified and inspected which the FIRS acted on.”