House of Reps Set to Recover N2.6trln Owed By 77 Oil Companies
By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja
Nigeria’s House of Representatives has described as alarming the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) report that 77 oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria are owing government to the tune of N2.6 trillion.
Yesterday at the lower chambers, the lawmakers constituted a twelve-member Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the allegations following a motion moved, amended and adopted on the urgent need to recover outstanding debts owed the government by oil and gas companies in Nigeria.
Quoting the NEITI report, Hon Ahmed Munir from Kaduna State, noted that the debts accrued from failure of the firms to remit Petroleum Profit Tax, Company Income Tax, Education Tax, Value Added Tax, Withholding Tax, Royalties, Penalties and Concession on rentals to the Federal Government
“Concerned that such a huge debt is being overlooked at a critical time when the country needs funding for its annual budget. Cognizant that if debts are recovered, the money could be used to service some of the Federal Government’s debts as well as fund up to 16.2 per cent of the 2022 budget deficit.
“Also cognizant that recovery of the debts is critical in this period of dwindling revenues especially as the Covid-19 pandemic has grossly affected the country’s economy,” he said.
He expressed concern that such debt is being overlooked to Nigeria by oil companies, and described the debt recovery move by the House as very critical especially as Nigeria’s economy is witnessing downturn in revenue.
After two motions of amendments, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, expressed concern that oil and gas companies can hold such amount thereby denying government revenue to execute its activities.