Otumba Adeniyi Adebayo, Nigeria’s minister of industry, trade, and investment, told the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts yesterday that various African countries were attempting to persuade companies registered and operating in Nigeria to relocate to their country.
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The minister, who led other ministry agencies to come before the committee to answer questions from the federation’s auditor-general, stated that the Nigerian government was doing everything necessary to prevent such enterprises from leaving again.
Many nations, like Ghana, have increased capital allowances to corporations, attracting a large amount of investment out from the country, he said, adding that Nigeria’s population is keeping certain enterprises in the country today.
He said the government was looking for ways of increasing the level of new investment in the country and sustaining existing ones, saying “our duty is to support investment growth In Nigeria. It is public knowledge that getting this investment is increasingly becoming difficult today.”
Earlier in his remarks, the chairman of the committee, Oluwole Oke, said several companies in the country were in the habit of not paying the required revenue to federal government leading to lack of funds for government services.
Oke said, “Nigeria is bleeding. We are borrowing daily to finance our budget and the minister of finance has said the reason we are borrowing is because we are not collecting the revenue we are supposed to collect.
“The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has issued some instruments which earned companies tax breaks and tax holidays. But this scheme has been abused by the companies.
“When some of these companies appeared before this committee, we noticed from their presentation elements of tax invasion. For example, China Habour got a waiver of N5 billion to import nails and wire nets. In my village, we have a company that manufactures nails, but cost of manufacturing nails locally is higher than those imported. So, how do we encourage local production?”