Stallion Group has firmly denied having committed any fraud or evaded any due obligation of import duties as some critics have alleged in media reports.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday directed its Committee on Customs and Excise when constituted to investigate alleged tax evasion by Stallion Group under the national rice policy introduced by the last administration.
Quoting a June 2, 2015 media report, Hon. Abdullahi Umar Faruk reported that Stallion Group has been making efforts to evade payments of N17 billion import duty imposed on them by the Nigerian Customs for exceeding their 2014 rice import quota under the dual tariff system.
Stallion Group, however, stressed that Popular Farms and Mills Limited and Masco Agro Allied Industries Limited being subsidiaries of Stallion Group imported 500 metric tonnes of Rice, and fully paid a total duty and levies of N17 billion at the prevailing duty and levy rates as approved by the last administration for millers under the new National Rice Policy contained in Circular No. BD/FP/TT/50/1/99 of 8th July,2014.
In a statement, the group said, “Our rice production companies (Popular Farms and Mills Limited and Masco Agro Allied Industries Limited) are contending that legally the retrospective duties being demanded by the Nigeria Customs Service are not payable and will adhere to any final judgment made by the country’s rule of law and due process.
“The rice companies have also issued a bond to secure Nigeria Customs from any potential proven obligation; therefore there is no question of any fraud or evasion. Our companies have not sought or received any “waivers” as misunderstood by some.”
The company noted that Stallion is a pioneer in the fully integrated rice value chain in Nigeria with existing operating capacities of 430,000 metric tonnes, backward integration operations, a countrywide distribution system and firm investment plans to reach a targeted production of 1.50 million tonnes of rice within the next 3 years.
“As an early starter since 2007, the group has played a key role in enhancing local rice production in the country, complementing the efforts of the Federal Government through its Agricultural Transformation Agenda.”
“The appropriate Ministries of the Federal Government have duly certified the group’s rice companies, as bonafide investors and integrated rice millers with proven backwardintegration programme. Our companies have presented all documents and facts to all the relevant ministries and authorities on its position with full transparency and compliance to the requirements.”
The group said it remains committed and undaunted in its resolve to support the government to achieve its lofty resolve to grow the economy particularly in the enhancement of the rice value chain and the quest for self-sufficiency and food security.