Reps move to plug alleged N1.2 trillion revenue leakages
In a bid to reposition the economy, the House of Representatives is moving to block over N1.2 trillion alleged yearly revenue leakages in the oil and financial industries.
To this end, the joint committees on finance and banking and currency, chaired by Abiodun James Faleke (APC, Lagos), and Victor Nwokolo (PDP, Delta), will, today, engage officials of 24 commercial and non-commercial banks and 14 international oil companies (IOCs) over the loss put at over $30 billion.
The financial and oil executives are to explain their roles in the alleged malfeasances arising from interest payments on accounts of foreign currency denominated contracts by companies in engineering, procurement, construction, installation and marine transportation. Faleke said an investigative hearing, to be conducted in deference to the COVID-19 protocols, would be phased, with the first lasting for three weeks.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, had during plenary on March 5, 2020, ordered the panels to proceed with the inquiries following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Faleke.
In arriving at the resolution, the lower legislative chamber had frowned on the billions of dollars being lost to tax evasion, diversion and related economic sabotage.
It, therefore, resolved to investigate the disbursement of foreign exchange by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other agencies with a view to determining the actual amount that might have vanished.
The hallowed chamber reasoned that the outflows were brainchild of alleged sharp practices in foreign exchange allocations to firms from the apex bank, interbank, domiciliary and over the counter purchases for importation of physical goods and payments of service vendors, dividend repatriation and loans.
The terms of reference for the investigating lawmakers included determining “in a statutory and in a professional manner, the revenue amount involved in the malpractices by each organisation based on every revenue item collectible by government agencies for the purposes of timely recovery into government accounts.”
Faleke, in his lead debate, had observed: “There is the urgent need to rescue the country from over $30 billion dollars annual revenue leakages arising from tax evasion, malpractices, misuse and diversion of foreign exchange allocations by companies and other entities.”