The House of Representatives has ordered a probe of the Stallion Group over an alleged tax evasion under the New National Rice Policy.
The House, in a resolution it passed on Wednesday, noted that the company had been making efforts since late 2014 to evade payment of N17bn import duty the Nigerian Customs Service asked it to pay.
The company was asked to pay the import duty for allegedly exceeding its 2014 rice import quota under the dual tariff system.
The House noted that the company evaded payment of N15bn duty arising from its having imported 475,000 metric tonnes of rice.
The import was above its 2014 quota of 89,939 through Mascot Agro, which the House said was not a recognised rice miller without any quota allocation in 2014.
It said the new rice quota, approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was based on the recommendation of the inter-ministerial committee that reviewed the policy.
It added that the policy was conveyed to the Nigerian Customs on May 28, 2015 by former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda.
According to the lawmakers, the inter-ministerial committee adopted a new National Rice Supply Gap of 782,000 metric tonnes and allocated quotas to 16 existing millers.
The 16 rice millers included Mascot Agro, which it said “was hurriedly registered as a subsidiary of Stallion Group since the popular name of the main company was blacklisted by the Nigerian Customs Service for non-payment of excise duty.”
In adopting a motion sponsored by Abdullahi Faruk (APC, Kebbi), the House expressed concern that while three companies, – Kereksuk Farms, Atafi Rice Industries and Arewa Rice Mill – paid their duties to Customs, the Stallion Group refused to pay.