The Joint House of Representatives Committee on Finance and Banking and Currency is set to investigate an alleged loss of over $30 billion in revenue annually due to leakages.
For this purpose, the joint committee, chaired by Rep. Abiodun James Faleke (APC, Lagos) and Rep. Victor Nwokolo (PDP, Delta), will engage 24 commercial and non-commercial banks and 14 international oil companies (IOCs) over the alleged huge revenue loss.
They will question officials of the banks and the IOCs during an investigative hearing, which commences today, Monday as concerning their roles on the alleged over $30 billion revenue leakages arising from oil revenue interest payment on account of foreign currency dominated contracts by companies in engineering, procurement, construction, installation, and marine transportations.
According to information, the investigative hearing, which is to be conducted based on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols, will be in phases. The first phase of the hearing will last for three weeks.
Recall that the House had on 5 March 2020, passed a resolution mandating the two committees to carry out the investigation following the adoption of a motion by Abiodun.
Understandably, lawmakers had expressed concern that the billions of dollars revenue leakages may have been due to tax evasion, malpractices, misuse, and diversion of foreign exchange allocations by companies and other entities.
In adopting the motion, the House said it would also investigate the disbursement of foreign exchange by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other agencies to determine the exact amount government may have lost in the process.
The Green Chamber noted that the leakages arose from various malpractices in foreign exchange allocation to companies from sources such as CBN, interbank, domiciliary and over the counter purchases for the importation of physical goods, payments of foreign service vendors, dividend repatriation and foreign loans.
The House mandated the Joint Committee to determine in a statutory and in a professional manner, the revenue amount involved in the malpractices by each organization based on every revenue line item collectible by government agencies for the purpose of timely recovery into government accounts.
Abiodun had said in March while leading debate on the motion that: “There is the urgent need to rescue the country from over $30 billion dollars annual revenue leakages arising from tax evasion, malpractices, misuse and diversion of foreign exchange allocations by companies and other entities,”.