There's nothing wrong with issuing waivers for African First Ladies' Conference, says Okonjo -Iweala
Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy,Dr Ngozi Okonjo -Iweala on Tuesday rebutted media attacks on her management of the country's import duty waiver policy.
The minister came under a spate of criticism but some sections of the media for her issuing waivers for the purpose of the African First Ladies' Conference.
While admitting issuing waivers for the conference, she denied any wrong doing.
The minister equally refuted allegation that her ministry had been running a corrupt waiver policy.
She made these statements in a reaction to some critical reports by The Punch and Saharareporters respectively.
In her rebuttal, through a statement by Paul Nwabuikwu, her special adviser, she said that the the ministry had been running a transparent waiver policy which is always on the ministry's website.
The statement titled, Truth about the Federal Government of Nigeria's Waiver Policy, reads in part, ' You may recall that the Punch Newspaper published editorials accusing the government and the Federal Ministry of Finance of running a corrupt waiver policy, and challenged the Federal Ministry of Finance to publish those waivers. (http://bit.ly/1jCH3j4)
'The Federal Ministry of Finance categorically refutes the allegation that it is running a corrupt waiver policy.
'Two years ago the Executive introduced a total reform of the waiver policy. Waivers are now only granted on a sectoral basis. This means that every company in the sector enjoys the same waiver privileges. All companies or entities involved in a sector or given activity will benefit from the same waivers once they meet the necessary criteria.
'The Federal Ministry of Finance published an abbreviated version of the full waiver report in several newspapers. It was also announced that the full version is available at www.budgetoffice.gov.ng and on social media (http://on.fb.me/1fWHYG5).
'The SaharaReporters claim that the Federal Ministry of Finance surreptitiously released an updated waiver list on the web only on December 22nd, 2013 is categorically false. In the spirit of transparency, the full waiver list was made public on December 3rd
' For the avoidance of doubt: the Federal Ministry of Finance has never denied issuing waivers to African First Ladies Forum conference. This official event for First Ladies of all the other African countries necessitated vehicles for the transport of these visiting dignitaries. The waiver granted for this occasion is similar to other waivers issued to various state governments and government institutions such as Rivers, Lagos, and Akwa Ibom for similar official sporting and conference events.
'As always The Federal Ministry of Finance welcomes all legitimate inquiries and criticisms. The Ministry of Finance cannot be expected to remain silent when falsification and distortion of facts occurs.'