The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has released the 2020 oil and gas industry report, as it announced that the indebtedness of 55 oil companies to the Federal Government was N1.32tn.
NEITI also revealed that a total of 370 oil spill cases were recorded during the review period, adding that 3.4 million litres of oil was spilled in 257 minor spills, 23 medium spills and one major spill.
At the public presentation of the report in Abuja, the Executive Secretary, NEITI, Orji Ogbonnaya-Orji, explained that the liabilities of the 51 oil companies to the Federation as at December 31, 2020 was N1.32tn or $3.17bn compared to the N2.6tn owed in 2019.
The agency’s latest report indicated that the number of defaulting companies dropped from the 77 reported by NEITI in 2019 to 51 in 2020.
Ogbonnaya-Orji described the current debts as collectable revenues that were due to the Federation by the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources and the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
On the revenue streams that accounted for the liabilities in question, NEITI stated that they include royalty oil, royalty gas, concession rentals, Petroleum Profit Tax, Company Income Tax, Education tax, Value Added Tax, Withholding Tax, among others.
Although NEITI did not name the defaulting companies at the public presentation of the report, it assured officials of the FIRS at the event that the identities of the firms would be made available to the service to help in the recovery of the funds.
“The public disclosure of companies’ liabilities to the Federation by NEITI is in line with its national mandate and in fulfilment of its obligation as a member of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and not in any way against the companies,” Ogbonnaya-Orji stated.
He explained that NEITI’s disclosure sought to draw the attention of the oil and gas companies to their obligations to remit all revenues due to government, especially at this time that government was in dire need of revenues to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and improve the country’s investment climate.
The NEITI boss described oil companies operating in Nigeria as the backbone of the industry.
“Without the companies there will be no industry, no investments and no revenues to remit,” he said.
Ogbonnaya-Orji added, “So NEITI will continue to support the companies and also expect that they live up to their obligations as regard to payment of taxes, royalties and levies to the Federation, as they do in other jurisdictions of their operations.”