Minister of industry, trade and investment, Otumba Adeniyi Adebayo, yesterday told the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts that several African countries were lobbying companies registered and operating in Nigeria to relocate to their countries.
The minister who led other agencies under the ministry to appear before the committee to respond to queries from the auditor-general of the federation said the Nigerian government was doing everything possible to ensure that such companies don’t leave again.
He said many of the countries, including Ghana has increased their capital allowances to companies and have taken away lots of investment from the country, adding that what is keeping some companies in the country today is Nigeria’s population.
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 g in the country were in the habit of not paying the required revenue to 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?