The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in an unprecedented move issued a full-page Joint Press Release in the Guardian defending the tax incentives and waivers granted by the Federal Government to some companies. The press release (see below) was in apparent reaction to a publication that appeared on Thisday on May 10, 2015.
The issue in focus was pioneer status granted to companies in the oil and gas industries and whether it was done according to due process and in line with the law. In the Joint press release, the parties affirmed that there is no established case of fraud in granting Pioneer Status incentive to companies by NIPC as alleged, because the approval to grant Pioneer Status Incentive to state-owned oil companies was duly approved by the Federal Government.
The press release also made reference to a perceived motive that may have been behind the Thisday Publication considering the negative impact on the reputation and intergrity of Seplat.
Whilst this publication may have gone a long way to provide some respite to Seplat and other companies that may have enjoyed Pioneer Status, the fact that it was the NIPC, FIRS that is defending this action does not in any way absolve it of any wrong doing. The incoming government may still have a say in the issue and rumours suggest this may just happen.