The Federal Government of Nigeria has disclosed that henceforth, seekers of import duty exemption will have to apply electronically, has it launched a new online platform through which the Import Duty Exemption Certificate (IDEC) will be issued.
This move is aimed at checking abuses and revenue loss record of over N1 trillion in recent times.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting as prelude to the launch of the project recently held in Abuja, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said her Ministry receives upwards of 600,000 different requests on an annual basis for import duty waivers on imports from different government agencies, private sector, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)’s through its fiscal policy measure of granting waivers.
“Despite these huge figures, it is still not clear what benefits have accrued to government in return in terms of jobs created, additional tax revenues paid by beneficiaries and other impact to the economy.
“The process of applying for and processing of waivers, determining eligibility of applicants, validating previously granted waivers, reporting utilization of waivers are currently all manual. This results in lack of transparency and lengthy bureaucratic process that could take upwards of usually between 60 – 180 days thereby exposing the process to subjectivity and abuse”.
Speaking further the Minister noted plans were in place to formerly launch the project in the first quarter of 2020, since it has already secured the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“So, there is a need to brief all stakeholders on where we are and where we intend to be as soon as the IDEC/VREG Platform is launched.
“This meeting couldn’t have come at a better time, now, that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is planning to officially launch this project which intends to reposition the administration, application and processes of acquiring Import Duty Exemption Certificate (IDEC) in Nigeria.
“As you all know that Import Duty Exemption Certificate is a tool used by the Federal Government in achieving some of its fiscal policies of increasing economic activities and employment generation in some target sectors.
“Note that from 2011 -2015, which is a four-year period, government conceded about N1.024 trillion through grants of only four types of waivers”, she explained. The Minister, who was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties of the Ministry, Mr. Muhammed Dikwa, said the government has engaged Messrs FourCore Technology Solutions Limited to develop and manage a solution that makes the process from application to processing, granting, validating, renewing and checking levels of utilization much easier and faster by utilizing and integrating a set of technology tools and applications.
“Messrs FourCore Technology Solutions Limited was charged with providing the infrastructure to automate the entire process end-to-end, including a dashboard that provides empirical data to measure the impact of this Fiscal Policy lever to the economy.
“Besides investing in the technology to achieve this goal, the Ministry also invested in the digitalization of all past IDEC records and procuring the necessary technology for the responsible principal officers including an IDEC Processing Centre situated at the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the report adds.