House Of Rep wants N2.6tr debt by oil firms recovered

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The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Federal Government to recover about N2.6 trillion allegedly owed it by 77 oil and gas companies operating in the country.

The House also set up an Adhoc committee headed by its Deputy Chief Whip,. Nkiruka Onyejeocha,  to reconcile what the federal government and oil companies owe each other as joint venture cash calls. Besides, it called for a proper inventory of the assets and liabilities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its subsidies before their transfer to the newly incorporated NNPC Limited.

The House, therefore, directed the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to provide the data needed to facilitate the recovery of the debts from the oil firms. The requests were made during debates on two separate motions on notice by Ahmed Munir and Ibrahim Isiaka.

Munir quoted a report by   NEITI that indicated that the  77 oil and gas companies was indebted to the government to the tune of N2.6 trillion. The debt, according to him, accrued from the failure of the oil companies to remit Petroleum Profit Tax, Company Income Tax, Education Tax, Value Added Tax, Withholding Tax, Royalties, Penalties, and Concession on rentals to the government.

He expressed concern that such a huge debt was being overlooked by the government at a critical time when the country needs money to fund its annual budget. The lawmaker said the debts if recovered,   could be used to service some government debts and at least   16.2 per cent of the 2022 budget deficit.