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Lawmakers to investigate oil companies owing FG

The House of Representatives is to constitute a twelve-member ad-hoc Committee to investigate the allegations that oil and gas companies owed the government a huge amount of money.

This followed a motion moved on the urgent need to recover outstanding debts owed the government by oil and gas companies in Nigeria.

Presenting the motion,  a member from Kaduna State, Ahmed Munnir quoted a Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative NEITI report that says 77 oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria are owing government to the tune of N2.6 trillion.

Also note 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.”

While expressing concern that such debt is being overlooked, Mr Munir described the recovery of the debt as critical especially as Nigeria witness dwindling revenues due to the COVID-19 Pandemic that affected the country’s economy.

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, expressed concern that oil and gas companies can hold such an amount thereby denying government revenue to execute its activities.

allegations of non remittances

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has summoned the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, the Ministry of Industry and the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority to clarify allegations of non remittances of taxes to the federation account by major players in the maritime sector.

The resolution was reached during an interactive session with major players in the sector at the National assembly by members of the committee who sought to know if Tenaris Global Services Nigeria Ltd remitted taxes to the relevant government agencies.

The company appeared before the House Committee following a petition by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation against its perceived Sharp practices

The Chairman of the Committee, Oluwole Oke, while grilling the representatives of the company lamented that most of the oil companies in the Zone were deliberately shortchanging the Federal Government with the connivance of government agencies.

Oke said the relevant government agencies would be invited to give more insight into the tax compliance status of the company at the next public hearing.

He declared that the Committee was not out to witch hunt the companies but rather acting on the petition received from the appropriate quarters for the Government which must be thoroughly investigated by the Parliament .

Other Agencies that appeared before the Committee on included the Federal Character Commission and the Bureau of Public Procurement who submitted various departments for the defence of the various queries raised against them by the Auditor General of the Federation.

Reporting by Ibrahim Shehu; editing by Tina Oyinsan