Abuja – The Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff has begun investigation into allegations of abuse of Federal Government’s Fiscal Policy by Samsung Electronics.
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, told newsmen in Abuja on Thursday that some foreign companies, including Samsung, were importing finished goods into the country in the guise that they were “Complete Knocked Down (CKD)’’.
Uzodinma said “foreigners are here, pretending to be manufacturing different products in Nigeria, pretending to be importing raw materials or Complete Knocked Down (CKD) but in the real sense, they have no assembly plant.
“You can see how a globally acclaimed company like Samsung is importing into the country and pretending to be manufacturing or assembling their products in Nigeria.
“Meanwhile, it has been confirmed now that they have no assembly plant in Nigeria.”
He said that the committee also found out during its oversight visit to Somotex Companies in Lagos that the claim that they were assembling Samsung fridges and television in Ikeja was not true.
“We visited the site, we saw no assembly plant. Samsung has confirmed that Somotex is one of their distributors whom they supply finished products.
“The question is, if they supply finished products to Somotex and Somotex is their distributor, how come Somotex is importing CKD and claim to be assembling it in Nigeria.”
The lawmaker lamented that Nigeria’s economy “is bleeding” and called for the recovery of the country’s non-oil revenue.
“The non-oil sector must be protected because this investigation has revealed a lot of things and we will continue without fear or favour until all these things are properly stamped out,” he said.
Uzodinma said that the committee’s investigation entailed looking into the entire import and export value chain with a view to identifying areas of abuses and leakages.
“Apart from the lousy nature of customs duty collections by the authorised banks and their non-remittances and partial remittances, where revenues have been recovered, we have gone into the abuse of fiscal policies.
“Government incentives are being abused by non-manufacturers, and fiscal policies that supposed to assist people to import raw materials are being abused; free trade zones have become points of smuggling.
“These are the areas we have identified and we have raised alarm so that it can be corrected,” he said.
According to him, the fiscal policies are borne out of good intentions but the abuses and manipulation by some of these people must be stopped so that the expected impact could be seen.
“We have adopted a segmented approach of all discoveries sector-by-sector, under several subheads; different types of infractions ranging from falsification of Form M and tripping of foreign exchange, were noted.
“Abuse of fiscal policy, abandonment of Customs duly accessed fees and levies, these are different sub-heads that are being addressed.”
Uzodinma said that a comprehensive report would be sent to the Senate at the end of the investigation. (NAN) NNL/BOLA/OPI