17 August 2015, Abuja – The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, yesterday, promised to assist Federal Government recover the over $7 billion owed the country by oil and gas companies.
NEITI, in a statement by its Director, Communications, Mr. Ogbonnaya Orji, also commen-ded the recent appointments and restructuring in Nigerian National Petroleum Corpora-tion, NNPC, and the decision of Federal Government to set up the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption.
He said they were important steps in bringing about the much-needed reforms in the country’s extractive industry.
Orji said the ongoing restructuring of NNPC was encouraging, as it inspires hope and confidence.
He added that NEITI was poised to assist the Professor Itse Sagay-led committee to recover the indebtedness of oil companies to the country, as contained in its audit reports.
He said: “One important issue that NEITI will be bringing to the table, if given the opportunity, is how the committee can assist the government to recover over $7 billion owned by oil companies.
“These disclosures are contained in NEITI audit reports as cases of under-payments and under-assessment, arising from subjective interpretation of Memoranda of Understanding, MoU, and tax laws.
“We have no doubt that our contributions will add value to the work of the committee.”
Orji further called on President Muhammadu Buhari to extend reforms in the oil and gas sector to the mining and solid minerals sector, especially in view of the huge potentials of the sector.
According to him, from NEITI’s study and independent audit reports, this sector has the potential to yield more revenues for the country than oil, if given the attention it deserves.
He said: “One urgent step required is to immediately check the activities of illegal miners many of whom are foreigners that have taken over the solid minerals sector without authorisation.”