December 21, 2015

We are paying for sins of last administration – Lai Mohammed

We are paying for sins of  last administration – Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed

Abuja – The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Monday in Abuja approved the review of extant taxation laws to address the inadequacies in the nation’s current tax regime.Lai-Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced this while addressing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, the review will plug the loopholes and subsequently address the inadequacies in the tax regime.

He observed that the inadequacies had been exploited by both individuals and corporate organisations to evade tax which had led to loss of revenue to the government.

“We have noticed and observed some inadequacies in the current tax regime and that these inadequacies have been exploited by both individuals and corporate organisations to evade tax.

“And these had led to lose of revenue to the government.

“So, the new review aims at plugging these loopholes.’’

The Minister disclosed that the council also proposed 2016 budget for presentation to the National Assembly on Tuesday by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Reacting on the persistent fuel scarcity in the country, Mohammed said that the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, marketers and vandalism of oil pipelines should be blamed for the current fuel shortages.

According to him, Nigerians are paying for the ‘sins’ of the last administration by the fuel scarcity that had persisted for several weeks.

“What I will be telling Nigerians is that what we met on ground is such that we are paying for the sins of the last administration. I am being very serious.

“You remember that about two weeks ago, we had to go to the National Assembly for a supplementary budget of N674 billion.

“Of that figure, N522 billion was for arrears of fuel subsidy which was incurred as far back as August last year.

“One of the reasons for the fuel scarcity was the inability of the last government to make adequate provision for fuel subsidy.

“We do face some other logistic problems but majorly we are paying for the sins of the last administration,’’ he said.

He, however, stated that the Buhari’s administration was now taking steps to solve the problems.

He said that unlike before when the marketers used to import the major percentage of the fuel, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had been involved in importation of the product.

The minister said the step was taken by the government because some of the marketers had stopped importing for a couple of months.

“If you see any fuel anywhere today, it is imported by the NNPC. We also inherited the vandalism of the pipeline which has made it impossible for us to even transport the fuel.

“In tanks today we have 14 days reserve and off tank, we have 10 days reserve.

“The issue is not non-availability of the product; it is the distribution, because of pipelines that have been vandalised and the gridlock in Lagos; it takes about five days for anybody to take fuel with tanker in Lagos.

“As at two days ago this matter has been resolved. The Mosinmi pipeline has been secured and it has led to the improvement in the distribution,’’ he added.