The House of Representatives has advised the Federal Government to suspend the issuance of 30 per cent Export Expansion Grant (EEG) to exporters.
The government was to resume the grant that was suspended by former President Goodluck Jonathan due to abuses it was subjected to at the time. Abuse had earlier led former President Olusegun Obasanjo to investigate the scheme which led to the refund of billions of naira by culpable exporters.
The lawmakers however said the suspension of the scheme was to avoid substantial loss of revenue to the government without achieving the objectives outlined in the policy since it was not properly administered in the past.
They said the suspension became imperative because the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah has met with over 200 exporters to herald the resumption of the sheme this month.
The decision of the lawmakers followed the adoption of a motion by Sadiq Ibrahim (APC, Adamawa), who recalled that the scheme was intensely investigated by a Committee headed by the late Waziri Mohammed during the administration of President Obasanjo, following which some exporters were made to refund billions of naira to the government coffers.
“Rather than boosting exportation of goods, the scheme created more naira billionaires who specialised in exploiting the inherent weaknesses of the scheme to the detriment of genuine exporters,” Ibrahim said.
Expressing concern about lifting the suspension without proper investigation to identify areas of weaknesses and block them, the lawmaker said the nation could again witness very serious incidents of revenue shortfalls as the certificates are used only for the payment of customs duties.
“Only last week, the Senate passed a resolution to investigate the loss of revenues generated by the Nigerian Customs Service despite the fact that the Service no longer receive EEG certificate for revenue payment,” he said.
The motion was unanimously adopted after it was put to a voice vote by Speaker Yak