Unpaid taxes: How we recovered $3bn from oil companies —NEITI

By Energy Worth

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency NEITI Initiative says it has assisted the Federal Government to recover over $3bn from oil and gas companies operating in the country.

The Executive Secretary, NEITI, Waziri Adio, stated that the agency’s operations in the country’s oil and gas sector had so far led to the recovery of revenue in excess of $3bn from the companies to government coffers.

He stated this while addressing the International Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative at its meeting in Berlin, Germany, according to a statement issued in Abuja on Monday by NEITI’s Director of Communications and Advocacy, Dr Ogbonnaya Orji.

Adio also told the NEITI Board that recoverable revenues in excess of $20bn in the sector had been disclosed by NEITI reports over the years.

He said the recoverable revenues were from process lapses leading to under-assessment or underpayment of taxes, royalties, signatures bonuses, etc.

Adio explained that through regular publication of credible and accessible critical data, NEITI had succeeded in opening up the previously opaque sector to public scrutiny, thus increasing citizens’ demands for reforms.

The NEITI boss, who represented Nigeria at the meeting, noted that the country wanted EITI to shift its current priorities to the pursuit of visible impact in the implementation of the initiative in member countries.

According to him, the current focus by EITI on member countries to attain satisfactory progress in the implementation of its standard is not enough if the efforts do not translate to visible impact in areas of poverty reduction and improved standard of living of the citizens.

In his presentation to the EITI Board, entitled ‘EITI Impact and Outlook in Nigeria’, Adio conveyed Nigeria’s concerns that little or no attention was given to context and diversity of implementing countries, especially those of developing nations.

“Out of seven categories in the EITI validation requirements, only one is focused on impact and outcome, while out of EITI’s 33 requirements, only four are on impact and outcome,” he stated.

He identified key areas where Nigeria had made positive impact in the implementation of EITI to include improvement in revenue recovery and generation of credible data for advancement of citizens’ engagement and debate required to push reforms in the extractive industry.

The NEITI helmsman welcomed the EITI validation process designed to hold all implementing countries to the same standard, but noted that such an important exercise should recognise and encourage the impact recorded by member countries.

The 20-member EITI Board is drawn from all parts of the world, and it develops and shapes the policy direction of the organisation that guides its 51 member countries.