We’ll Not Succumb To Blackmail Over Duty Waivers ―Adeosun
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun on Sunday said Federal Government will not succumb to blackmail by individuals and organisations seeking import waivers.
Adeosun, was reacting to accusations that she has withheld import duty waivers on drugs, health commodities and related equipment donated by the Global Fund.
In a statement signed on her behalf by Director of Information, Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Salisu Na’Inna, Adeosun denied that she has refused to grant import duty waivers to some importers and NGOs for drugs and health commodities imported into the country.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance also wishes to state that the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration appreciates the generosity of Donor Agencies and partner NGOs in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS, Malaria, tuberculosis, and other deadly diseases but will not succumb to cheap blackmail and acts of economic sabotage under the guise of the delivery of health services to the people of Nigeria,” she stated.
The minister added, “There are laid down statutory procedures governing the granting of import duty waivers to importers and NGOs, which are part of holistic measures put in place to check abuses of the Federal Government’s fiscal incentives, and to put a halt to rampant corrupt practices in the economic sector.”
The statement enumerated procedures to obtain duty waivers to include submission of an application by the importer and NGO to the Federal Ministry of Finance through the Federal Ministry of Health; evidence of registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission; submission of an approved Memorandum of Understanding duly signed by the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning between the Donor Agencies, Federal Government of Nigeria and the Recipient-NGOs.
Other steps are presentation of a certificate of exemption from tax from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (only for those who engage in non-profit making activities in line with their objectives), submission of a proforma invoice indicating the value of the imported items, bill of laden and if the imported items are donated, the NGOs are required to provide the Federal Ministry of Finance with authenticated letter from the donor agencies.
Additional documentation may also be required where the need arises. Meanwhile, some of the applicants referred to in the sponsored write-up being planned for circulation did not submit the required documents for processing import duty waivers requests
“The Federal Ministry of Finance has in recent times observed the flagrant abuse of the import duty waivers by some NGOs and importers, who smuggled other imported items into approved waivers issued for the importation of medical equipment and drug-related items.
“The Ministry has also observed that some importers and NGOs engage in the sale of imported drug items which are meant to be distributed to the public free after being granted import duty exemption by the Government. This is in contravention of the provisions of Section 46 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) of 1958 (as amended).
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Federal Ministry of Finance wishes to state that priority and special attention are always accorded requests for import duty waivers for medical equipment and drugs related items.
As a matter of fact, 318 concession applications were received and 175 were processed to the conclusion from 1st May to 24th November, 2017”, the statement added.