08 Oct

Daily Watch – AMCON under the microscope, Rice back in import list

  • The House of Representatives have resolved to investigate what it said is the undue accumulation of debts by AMCON amounting to N5 trillion, in excess of its N800 billion debt ceiling. The House also alleged that over N2 trillion was lost due to the non-transparent process adopted by AMCON in the sale of Oceanic Bank, Intercontinental Bank, Enterprise Bank and Mainstreet Bank. The sponsor of the motion, Gabriel Onyenweife, APGA; Oyi/Ayamelum, expressed worry that the continued abuse of due process in the management of AMCON portends danger for the financial health of the Nigerian banking industry. “Disposal of assets such as shares, landed properties, plants and equipment acquired by AMCON was shrouded in secrecy…most of the assets disposed of were alleged to have been sold to cronies and close associates of the officials of the corporation without recourse to due process and extant laws,” the lawmaker noted. Another house member also called for the appointment of a competent audit firm to examine the financial books of the corporation.
  • The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, has ordered the immediate removal of rice from the import restriction list and the re-introduction of import duty payment at land borders. According to his PRO, the restriction was only applied at land border stations before now. Rice imports through land borders by rice traders would attract the prevailing import duty of 10 per cent with 60 per cent levy, while rice millers with valid quota allocation would attract a duty rate of 10 per cent with 20 per cent levy on rice importation. The new measure is a move for customs to reorganize its anti-smuggling operations in border areas and ensure that all importers through the borders bring their rice through approved routes and pay their extant duty.
  • Power distribution companies are saying that the current tariff is not cost effective, and are of the opinion that the power sector will collapse if electricity tariff remains low. According to them, payments that electricity distribution firms currently receive as tariff is barely enough and any attempt to reduce the rate will adversely affect the sector. According to its Executives, Disco companies are losing as much as 50 percent to theft and non-payment by both private individuals and the MDAs, particularly the military, affecting revenue and ability to invest in the system.