About 77 oil companies owing FG N2.6trn – NEITI

Seventy-seven oil companies owe the Federal Government N2.6 trillion naira debt, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said.

The debt arises from the failure to remit petroleum profit tax, company income tax, value-added tax, royalty, and concession on rentals.

NEITI Executive Secretary, Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji disclosed this on Tuesday while presenting the agency’s scorecard in the last seven months during a press briefing in Abuja.

“The NEITI reports based on findings in its 2019 audit of the oil and gas sector show that oil and gas companies in Nigeria owe government about $6.48bn, which equals N2.66tn at today’s exchange rate of N410.35,” he said.

“A breakdown of the figures shows that a total of $143.99m is owed as petroleum profit taxes, $1.089bn as company income taxes, and $201.69m as education tax.

“Others include $18.46m and £972,000 as Value Added Tax, $23.91m and £997,000 as withholding tax, $4.357bn as royalty oil, $292.44m as royalty gas, while $270.187m and $41.86m were unremitted gas flare penalties and concession rentals respectively.”

While underscoring the importance of the funds to the economy, he said that the agency is set to take measures to recover the money.

According to the NEITI boss, the disclosure was important in view of the government’s current search for revenue to address the demand for steady power, good roads, quality education, fight against insurgency, and job creation.

Orji explained that NEITI decided to provide relevant information and data to support the government’s efforts at recovering this money.

He also cautioned oil firms that NEITI would no longer watch while these debts continued to remain in its reports unaddressed.