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 from 77 oil and gas companies.
This was disclosed by NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Orji Ogbonnaya-Orji, on Tuesday, in Abuja.
What NEITI is saying
Ogbonnaya-Orji said, “We will also share the information and data with our partner anti-corruption agencies with whom we have signed MoUs.”
He disclosed 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.
How debt recovery works in NEITI
The Deputy Director/Head Communications and Advocacy, NEITI, Obiageli Onuorah, explained that informing and charging the debtor companies to pay up was the first phase of the recovery process.
She said, “The first phase is what we are on right now. We’ve alerted the companies to pay back. By the time we conclude our 2020 audit report, we will now check to see if they have paid.
“The 2019 audit was concluded in December 2020 and presented to the public in May this year, as the affected debtor companies were also notified.
“Now, the 2020 audit report will validate if these payments have been made by the companies. Our audit reports are published annually. Plans are on to release the 2020 report by November this year.”
“So it is only when that report is concluded that we can verify or confirm that they have paid or not. And after that, we will now have meetings with the anti-corruption agency and commence the process of recovery.
In case you missed it
Nairametrics reported that the indebtedness of 77 oil and gas companies to the Federal Government hit N2.66 trillion, according to NEITI.
This was disclosed by NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Ogbonnaya-Orji on Tuesday in Abuja. He said NEITI would publish a fresh list of indebted oil firms, adding 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.