Abuse of Tax Incentives: HoR to end sabotage, ensure transparency, accountability


By Tom Okpe

Against allegations and abuse of Tax breaks, the House of Representatives has reiterated its commitment to end sabotage of incentives and ensure transparency and accountability in the country.

Speaker of the House, Rep Abbas Tajudeen made this declaration in Abuja on Thursday, while inaugurating, House Ad’hoc Committee on ‘Investigation of Allegations of Abuse of Tax Incentives, Tax Break and Waivers by Public Institutions and Companies,’ benefiting from the said, Tax Incentives.

Tajudeen said: “The purpose of this investigation is to end all forms of economic sabotage and ensure transparency, accountability, and fairness in our tax system.

“This committee is saddled with the responsibility of addressing a matter of utmost importance to our nation’s economic well-being.”

The speaker further noted that tax incentives are essential tools used by governments to promote economic growth.

“It is with great pleasure that I welcome everyone here for the inauguration of this noble Committee.

“There is no doubt that tax incentives are essential tools, used by governments to promote economic growth, attract investments, and stimulate job creation.

“However, it is crucial to ensure that these incentives are being utilized appropriately and not being misused or abused.

“The allegations that have been brought to the attention of the House, suggest that some public institutions and companies may be taking advantage of these incentives for personal gain or, evade their tax obligations, hence, the establishment of this Committee.

“In carrying out this investigation, the Committee is required to thoroughly investigate these allegations and provide recommendations for necessary sanctions and reforms.

“Endeavor to find out, whether the beneficiaries of these tax incentives have lived up to the conditions attached to them and if they have fulfilled their obligations to the Nigerian people as required.

“Your mandate will be to examine extent of the alleged abuse by public institutions and organisations, review relevant legislation, policies, and regulations governing these incentives to identify any loopholes or weaknesses that may have contributed to the alleged abuse.”

He urged the Committee to summon witnesses, request documents, and conduct hearings, as necessary, calling on relevant stakeholders, including government agencies, public institutions, and companies, benefitting from tax incentives, to cooperate with the committee’s investigation for the House to have a full understanding of tax system with a view, of taking appropriate legislative actions.

He also, reiterated the House confidence in ability of the Committee Chairman, Rep Makki Abubakar Yalleman and his members to conduct a thorough investigation within the time frame allotted for the exercise.

Inaugurating the Committee, Tajudeen said: “On this note, with the powers conferred on me as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, I hereby inaugurate this Committee.”

In his speech, the Chairman, Rep Yalleman said Abuses of tax incentives by supposed beneficiaries and statutory institutions meant to regulate tax regime could push the government into fiscal contraints.

“Taxes enable the government, raise necessary funds for development. Where taxes are inadequate, where there are leakages or infractions of the system, leads to narrowing of tax inflow, the government resorts to borrowings which have attendant consequences for national development.

“While tax incentives are granted to encourage businesses to stand well and be strong enough to contribute to the economy, it’s abuse creates distortions in fiscal and monetary policy management.

“As Nigeria experiences dwindling oil revenue and public debt approaches prohibitive levels amidst allegations of abuse of tax incentives, there is need to know the scope of tax incentives and possible existence of abuses to enable proper administration of its breaks, waivers and incentives.

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“This investigation is not a witch-hunting exercise, but a fact-finding mission that aims to correct abuses in the management of tax incentives and ensure, the right thing is done for general good of Nigwrians.

“As the Speaker inaugurates this Ad’hoc Committee today, we seek cooperation of everyone with a view to finding missing link and filling the widening tax gap,” he added.

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