Extend Tax Waivers Probe to Tobacco Firms, CAPPA Tells Federal Government

By Edu Abade

The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has enjoined the Federal Government to extend the planned probe of tax waivers, grants and other insidious benefits unduly awarded to corporations by successive governments to include the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) awarded to tobacco companies.

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It explained that the EEG scheme is a post-shipment incentive introduced by the Federal Government to encourage indigenous exporters to expand their export volume and value in the global market.

The group made the call for the extension of the probe in a statement issued in reaction to the resolution of the House of Representatives to investigate all tax waivers granted since 2015 and the candid observations of the Chairman, Presidential Committee on Tax Reforms and Fiscal Policy, Taiwo Oyedele, who declared in a recent television interview that the country’s administration of tax waivers was lacking in prudence and transparency.

While welcoming the probe, CAPPA urged the government to extend its investigation to the sleazy waivers granted to the tobacco industry since 2003, just as it declared that the waivers, benefits and recognition granted to the tobacco industry were further complicated by the multifaceted impacts of the tobacco industry on public health and the environment.

A statement issued by CAPPA Policy and Research Officer, Zikora Ibeh, quoted the Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, as saying: “We demand full and transparent inquiry into these shady waivers that have ripped the country of its revenues. More so, we are concerned about the benefits awarded to the tobacco industry under the Export Expansion Grant Scheme, and other untoward agreements which insult every Nigerian striving for a healthier and more equitable society.

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“These waivers and grants not only undermine our country’s fiscal responsibility but also tacitly endorse an industry that poses significant health risks, affecting many Nigerians.”

CAPPA also pointed out that global health bodies, scientific and medical research have consistently highlighted the severe health implications of tobacco consumption, linking it to various chronic diseases including cancer, heart diseases and respiratory illnesses.

Speaking further, Oluwafemi said: “By exempting the tobacco industry from its fair share of taxes, the Nigerian government inadvertently compromised public health in Nigeria and other West African countries and widened the country’s poverty gap.

“This preferential treatment granted to an undeserving industry deprives the nation of crucial revenue needed for public services like healthcare, education, and infrastructure development.”

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In a similar vein, the group also canvassed increase in taxes on tobacco products to reduce consumption as well as safeguard public health.

Joshua Okoria

Joshua Okoria is a Lagos based multi-skilled journalist covering the maritime industry. His ICT and graphic design skills makes him a resourceful person in any modern newsroom. He read mass communication at the Olabisi Onabanjo University and has sharpened his knowledge in media practice from several other short courses. 07030562600,

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