The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has promised to assist the Federal Government to recover more than $7 billion owed the country by oil and gas companies.
In a statement by its Director of Communications, Mr. Ogbonnaya Orji, NEITI also commended the recent appointments and restructuring in Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the decision of the Federal Government to set up the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption. These, it said, were important steps in bringing about the much-needed reforms in the country’s extractive industry.
“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 called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to stop the reforms in the oil and gas sector but extend it to the mining and solid minerals sector, especially in view of the huge potentials of the sector.
“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,” Orji said.
According to him, NEITI’s study and independent audit reports show that the mining sector has the potential to yield more revenues for the country than oil, if given the attention it deserves.