The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has granted approval for a gateway platform under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to manage a portal in charge of issuance of import duty exemption certificates as well as vehicle identification and registration numbers.
The weekly meeting held Wednesday was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said after the meeting that an approval was granted to automate the process of the various applications for an exemption that were coming to the ministry.
She said these categories of import duty payments and other tax incentives covered a number of sectors, including the downstream gas-utilisation projects, the agro-allied processing projects, commercial aircraft engines and spare parts, automobile assembly, iron and steel production, power including thermal hydro, solar and wind, textiles- plants, machinery and equipment imported for use for mining operations.
“In the process of these exemptions, we realised that the government was actually ceding quite a significant amount of revenue through this process. Because the process was largely paper-based, we got approval to automate this process, to enhance efficiency, to block possible leakage and also to reduce the amount of time that the ministry takes to review this exemption request and provide the necessary approvals. This portal will be managed by the ministry and the Nigeria Custom Service. The vehicle identification number will be available to any user to access to find out information on vehicles. On our part, on the IDEK component, we will be able to see how much waivers have been granted to which sectors and also track the performers of those waivers and reduce the cost subsequently,” Ahmed said.
The portal is an undertaking in the form of a PPP between the Ministry of Finance and Messrs Fore-core Technology Solutions limited. The company will develop, deploy, manage and transfer back to the ministry. They are to be earning a revenue which is coming from IDEK application fee.
They will earn 10 per cent of the revenue to enable them recover the cost of deployment as well as the management as they will be managing the project over 10-year period.
On the stamp duty, which had been a subject of litigation between the Nigerian Postal Service (NPS) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Ahmed said the finance bill had made the FIRS as the collecting agency, thus addressing the issue of litigation, adding that the revenue should be remitted as they were being collected, unlike in the past when the funds were kept in a special account arising from the litigation.
“The stamp duties up till now has been a subject of litigation between the Nigerian Postal Service and Federal Inland Revenue Service. So, while the banks when you make any transfer charge you N50, these revenues were not accruing to government. They were pulled at the Central Bank and we also feel —- and I don’t have the facts, that there will be some funds being held by the commercial banks as well. The Central Bank has itself said that they a holding of about N43billion now but in the new finance Act that the two houses of the National Assembly just passed, there is an amendment that is made to the stamp duties Act that relates to the mode of collection. The finance bill has made the FIRS as the collecting agency so, that addresses the issue of the litigation,” she said.
Meanwhile FEC has given approval for variations for key road projects in Kano State and Bauchi State. The Minister of Works and Housing, Raji Fashola said the roads were Tagwai-Kansa Road to Doguwa in Kano State for N8.436 billion and Alkaleri to Situk Road in Bauchi State for N32.015 billion.
He said the roads were in the 2019 budget and expected to be implemented before the end of the year.