The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to recover the N2.66 trillion unpaid taxes from 77 oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria. NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Orji Ogbonnaya-Orji said this in Abuja. Ogbonnaya-Orji said, “We will also share the information and data with our partner anti-corruption agencies with whom we have signed MoUs.” He stressed that NEITI would provide all necessary information and data to sister agencies and anti-corruption organisations whose responsibilities were to recover the debts into government coffers. He said that in the past seven months, NEITI had held series of meetings and consultations with diverse stakeholder groups involved in the EITI process.
“The outcomes of these engagements have culminated in the signing of Memorandum of Understanding with some of them to support NEITI in the implementation of the EITI in Nigeria. MoUs were signed notably with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission; and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit,” he added. The NEITI boss explained that the agency was strengthening the powers and functions of NEITI through an amendment of the NEITI Law enacted since 2007, adding that the amendment was to align the law with EITI emerging issues, the new Petroleum Industry Act and ongoing reforms in the industry.
He added that a gap analysis was developed on the present law and a draft review sent to the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Meanwhile the indebtedness of 77 oil and gas companies across the nation to the Federal Government has hit N2.66trillion mark. According Ogbonnaya-Orji NEITI would publish a fresh list of indebted oil firms that it would give anti-corruption agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to go after the defaulting organisations.
Ogbonnaya-Orji explained that the N2.66 trillion debt arose from failure to remit petroleum profit tax, company income tax, education tax, value added tax, withholding tax, royalty and concession on rentals. He said that the total liabilities of the 77 companies were captured in the agencies’ 2019 independent audit report of the oil and gas sector. He said, “The NEITI reports based on findings in its 2019 audit of the oil and gas sector show that oil and gas companies in Nigeria owe government about $6.48billion, which equals N2.66trillion at today’s exchange rate of N410.35. “A breakdown of the figures shows that a total of $143.99million is owed as petroleum profit taxes, $1.089billion as company income taxes and $201.69million as education tax. Others include $18.46million and £972,000 as Value Added Tax, $23.91million and £997,000 as withholding tax, $4.357billion as royalty oil, $292.44million as royalty gas, while $270.187million and $41.86million were un-remitted gas flare penalties and concession rentals respectively.”