The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said that it is it is ready to work with the Professor Itse Sagay-led Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption to recover the over $7 billion owed the country by oil and gas companies as contained in its audit reports.
The agency in a statement by its Director, Communications, Mr. Ogbonnaya Orji also noted, that the recent appointments and restructuring in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to set up the Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption 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 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 owed 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.
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“We have no doubt that our contributions will add value to the work of the committee.”
Orji further called on President 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.”
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