By Tordue Salem
ABUJAâ€”THE House of Representatives has recommended the immediate probe of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Total Upstream, Shell Petroleum Development Company and 25 other companies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over their failure to remit import duties worth over N84 billion to government coffers.
Of the N84 billion, NNPC accounts for about N45.9 billion which it failed to pay to the Nigeria Customs Service as tax on petroleum products imported into the country between 1999 and 2002.
The balance of N38 billion is revenue estimated to have been lost between 2006 and 2007 due to the granting and abuse of Temporary Importation and Pre-Releases.
Firms responsible for most of the temporary importations, for which there were no proof of re-exportation or payment of duty include Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited, Global Pipelines Plus Nigeria Limited, Panalpina World Transport Nigeria Limited and Globestar Engineering Company Limited.
Those responsible for the highest number of unperfected pre-releases include Total Upstream, Shell Petroleum Development Company, Dansa Foods Limited, Benue Cement Company, Schlumberger Nigeria Limited, Obajana Cement Plc and CCC Construction Nigeria Limited.
A report presented by the Yakubu Dogara-led House of Representatives Committee on Customs which investigated the state of the Nigeria Customs Service, said: â€œEFCC should be mandated to recover the sum of N45.9 billion owed by the NNPC to the Service as there was no basis for the corporation not to pay the said amount as tax on petroleum products imported into the country in line with government policy at that time.â€
The committee also recommended that government should â€œprevail on the EFCC to recover the more than $5 billion NESS levy owed by crude oil exporters, and prosecute the firms involved for exporting crude oil in violation of extant laws.â€