The House of Representatives has reiterated the need to recover the over N2.6 trillion owed Nigeria by 77 Oil and Gas companies operating in Nigeria.
Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila made the call in an address at the public hearing on the matter held by the ad-hoc committee investigating the issue on Tuesday.
- Executive Order 5 will relieve Nigeria of socio-economic challenges – FG
- NIGERIA DAILY: Why Nigeria Is Moving Backwards
It could be recalled that, the House had on Tuesday, 39th of November 2021, debated the motion on the need to recover outstanding debts owed Federal Government by oil and gas companies operating in the country.
Gbajabiamila said, the House had considered the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) report, which determined that 77 oil and gas companies in the country owed the Federal Government of Nigeria in excess of N2.6 trillion.
He said: “This is a significant sum of money under any circumstances. When the country is confronting significant revenue shortages, coupled with an overwhelming need to address longstanding developmental challenges, there is a greater obligation on the government to do all that is necessary to recover these sums.
“For these reasons, the House resolved to investigate these debts, conduct a proper reconciliation of accounts between the federal government and oil companies and urge the National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the National Oil Spill Detection Agency (NOSDRA) and the Federal Inland Revenue Agency (FIRS) to provide the data required to facilitate the recovery of debts owed to the Federal Government by the oil and gas Companies”.
On her part, Chairman of the ad-hoc Committee on recovery of the outstanding debts owed by oil and gas companies, Nkiruka Onyejeocha (APC, Abia) said the committee is ready to work with the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, (NEITI) to recover the outstanding debt and paid to government coffers.
In his submission, the Executive Secretary, NEITI, Ogbonnaya Orji said, the agency discovered the amount of money being owed the federal government by the various oil and gas companies and drew attention to the anomalies.
Referring to the report presented to the committee, he said, the debt profile of the debtor companies as of 31st December 2020 was $3.171bn, with $3.094bn due to DPR and $77.097million due to FIRS.
Similarly, the Acting Head, Debt Management and Enforcement of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Anita Erinne, who represented the Chairman, Muhammad Nami confirmed that the agency is aware of the debt owed the federal government by the companies.
According to the letter sent to the committee signed by the FIRS Chairman dated 21st February 2021, 70 out of the 77 companies listed by NEITI have outstanding tax obligations of US$1.49 billion collectible by the FIRS.
It stated: “This outstanding sum is 23% of the US$6.48 billion published by NEITI in its Audit Report. The balance of 77% comprised of Royalty Oil (US$4.357 billion); Royalty Gas (US$292.44 million) Gas Flare (US$270.187 million) and Concession Rentals (US$41.85 million)”.
The letter however stated that the later sums are outside the scope of FIRS.