Fifty-one oil companies owe FG $3.6 billion: NEITI
The federal government has recovered N2.6 trillion in revenue from oil firms, says the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI). According to the extractive industry watchdog, 51 oil companies owe the government $3.6 billion.
NEITI executive secretary Orji Ogbonnaya Orji disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja at its civil society organisations (CSO) and media engagement on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) validation.
The EITI validation, conducted every three years, is a quality assurance mechanism to ascertain the level of compliance and progress in implementing its standards among member countries, including Nigeria.
Mr Orji said NEITI’s financial report led to the debt recovery.
“By the time we release the 2021 report, any company owing Nigeria will have no choice than to invite EFCC to take over and handle it as an economic crime,” he said.
The NEITI boss added that the recovery resulted from the agency’s appearance at the National Assembly to defend its position based on data it provided.
Recently, NEITI released 2019 reports, including a list of 77 oil and gas companies that owed the government up to $6.8 billion. The National Assembly had summoned the organisation to defend it by showing how it arrived at the numbers.
According to Mr Orji, as soon as it released the 2020 report to prove that, the companies that wanted their names protected rushed to the relevant agencies to pay their debts.
He revealed that from 77 companies, the number decreased to 51 companies, and the amount came down to $3.6 billion.
“Which shows that from the point we released that information, a lot of money came in. None of them disputed our report. Rather, they were giving excuses why they did not pay. The money includes all taxes and VAT being collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and all royalties being collected by the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC),” the NEITI chief added.
He further mentioned that through NEITI, there had been increased demand, easy access and availability of verified information and data in the public domain.
“The content of our up-to-date reports is very incisive and is shaping public debates,” Mr Orji stressed.
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