By Samuel Ogidan
Members of the House of Representatives have turned their searchlight on the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan and that of his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, over sugar waivers running into several billions of naira they granted to some companies.
The House set up an Ad-hoc Committee to look into the concession policy for backward integration on sugar and why it failed to yield the desire results under the two governments.
The panel headed by Hon. Abiodun Olasupo will investigate the waivers given to the firms from 2013 till date.
Already, the panel has summoned the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah and other stakeholders, especially the companies which enjoyed the waivers to explain why the policy failed to produce results.
Olasupo told journalists at the weekend in Abuja that the amount involved in the policy runs into several billions of naira, adding that panel would begin the engagement with the relevant stakeholders this week.
The reason for the policy, according to the lawmaker, was for the government to create jobs and stimulate the economy.
He said: “The Federal Government came up with the policy of granting a very low tariff and levy to certain companies with the aim that whatever savings made from the concessions would be used to finance the growing of sugarcane across the country with the aim of creating jobs and stimulating the economy.
“Our findings in the House show that this hasn’t been done. The House got worried and constituted this committee to look into the books of Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment on the matter,” he said.
Hon. Olasupo promised those who short-changed Nigeria through the policy would not find a hiding place, a�?but will surely face the law.a�?
Fielding questions from newsmen, the lawmaker explained that the investigation will “cover 2013 to 2016, but we are not restricting ourselves to that period. Yes, we may not go beyond 2013, but we can go to 2016 and beyond if it means the committee should do that for us to get the best for Nigeria.a�?
By Samuel Ogidan