The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says it will report oil and gas companies that have defaulted in remittance of various profit taxes to the federation account.
Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji Executive Secretary of NEITI disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the 2019 oil and gas industry audit report and Solid Mineral Industry audit report in Abuja, on Tuesday.
He said that 77 oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria were currently owing the country 6.48 billion dollars an equivalent of N2.659 trillion.
He noted the debts, which were identified in the Report, arose from failure of the companies to remit petroleum profit tax, company income tax, education tax, value added tax, withholding tax, royalty and concession on rentals to the Federation Account.
He explained that a total of 143.99 million dollars is owed as petroleum profit taxes; 1.089 billion dollars as company income taxes and 201.69 million dollars as education tax.
Others, he added included 18.46 million dollars and 972,000 pounds as Value Added Tax; 23.91 million dollars and 997,000 pounds as Withholding Tax; 4.357 billion dollars as royalty oil and 292.44 million dollars as royalty gas.
Also, 270.187 million and 41.86 million dollars were unremitted gas flare penalties and concession rentals respectively.
The Executive Secretary noted that the disclosure was important and timely in view of government’s current search for revenues to address citizens’ demand for steady power, access to good roads, quality education, fight insurgency and creation of job opportunities for the country’s teeming youths.
He added that NEITI was determined to help the Federal Government recover the money from the 77 companies, and advised the affected companies to ensure they remit the various outstanding sums against them before the conclusion of the 2020 NEITI audit cycle to the relevant government agencies responsible for collection and remittances of such revenue.
Orji also warned that NEITI would no longer watch while these debts continue to remain in its reports unaddressed, stating that it would provide all necessary information and data to sister agencies saddled with the responsibilities of recovering the debts into government coffers.
He said that the agency would also share the information and data with partner anti-corruption agencies with whom it had signed memoranda of understanding (MoU).
“A comparative analysis of what this huge sum of N2.65 trillion can contribute to economic development shows that it could have covered the entire capital budget of the federal government in 2020 or even used to service the federal government’s debt of 2.68 billion dollars in 2020.
“In 2021, if the money is recovered the N2.659 trillion could fund about 46 per cent of Nigeria’s 2021 budget deficit of N5.6 trillion and is even higher than the entire projected oil revenue for 2021.
“This is why NEITI is set to work with the government to provide relevant information and data to support efforts at recovering this money.
“The disclosure of this information is in line with NEITI’s mandate to conduct audits, disseminate the findings to the public to enable the citizens, especially the media and civil society to use the information and data to hold government, companies and even society to account.
“ It is important that the process of recovering this humongous sum be set on course to support government in this period of dwindling revenues,” he said.
On NEITI’s achievements, he said that within the short period of re-constitution and inauguration of the NEITI Board.
It achieved commencement of process of reviewing of NEITI Act to strengthen its powers and functions; timely publication and presentation of the reports.
Also, secured permanent office accommodation for the agency after 17 years of squatting on rent; sustained and diversified partnerships with key stakeholders and partners.
Other achievements he listed were the appointment of NEITI into the implementation Committee of the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA; the beginning of the development of a five-year NEITI Strategic Plan (2022-2026) and NEITI Audit Automation Project.
Also, Nigeria’s involvement in Opening Extractives programme; NEITI’s appointment to lead the global EITI Contract Transparency Network; Designing of a new, functional and Interactive website and reconstitution of the civil society and communication sub-committee among others.
Also speaking, Chairman of the Board of NEITI, Mr Olusegun Adekunle, welcomed the achievements so far recorded and assured that a lot more needs to be done in the EITI implementation in Nigeria.
“To effectively undertake this task of ensuring prudent management of extractive resources, there is need for effective oversight of the implementation of the EITI standard by all relevant frontline agencies of government and companies.
“NSWG looks up to you for you to effectively monitor these guidelines and to ensure that the standards are mainstreamed in the covered entities’ daily operations”, he said.
He reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to EITI implementation in Nigeria.
According to him, President Buhari’s administration is passionate about EITI process because it served two key agenda of the government on strategic economic development through extractive sector, and in achieving transparency and accountability in the management of our natural resources under the anti-corruption agenda.
The Chairman assured members of the civil society and the media that the NEITI Board under his watch would do all within its power to sustain the existing partnership and ensure a more robust and cordial relationship with civil society groups.
He added that every input from the civil society and the media would receive speedy and due attention.(NAN)(
Senate Gives Kyari, NUPRC Boss 24 Hours To Appear For Budget Defense
The Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, on Wednesday, directed the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, to appear before the committee in 24 hours.
Olamilekan, who asked Kyari to appear in company of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), warned that failure to appear undermines the legislature and sabotages the process.
They are required to present the list of all individual companies operating with OML licenses in Nigeria as well as total production output approved on a daily basis.
The lawmaker expressed concerns that some of the revenues required to drive the 2024 budget was attributed to the NNPCL, which according to him, was owned by the Federal Government and responsible to it, and by extension the three arms of government.
The NNPCL, had earlier shunned for a second time, summons by the Senate to appear before its committee probing over N11trn expenditure on turn around maintenance of refineries in the country between 2010 and 2023.
The absence of Kyari, whose entity is at the centre of the investigation, stalled efforts by the Senate panel to make progress on the matter.
Economic: IMF Wrong On Nigeria’s Projections – Budget Office
The Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been wrong in its projections of the Nigerian economy in the last four years.
“In the last four years, IMF has got it wrong about our projections,” Akabueze said on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Wednesday. “Our actual growth have always beat their projections.”
Akabueze spoke on the economic projections of the President Bola Tinubu government for 2024.
On November 29, 2023, the President presented his maiden budget estimates of N27.5trn for the year 2024 to the National Assembly (NASS).
According to the President, the economy is expected to grow by 3.76%, while “inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 percent in 2024”.
“Budget deficit is projected at 18 trillion naira in 2024 or 3.88 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” the President had added.
The President’s projection was at variance and “ambitious” to the prediction of IMF earlier in October. The Washington-based lender had projected that the country’s economy would grow at 3.1% in 2024.
However, the Budget Office boss said IMF’s projections “do not represent the holy grail on economic growth”, adding that the organisation “can’t get it right better than the people who have direct responsibility for managing their individual economies”.
Akabueze said the growth rate projected by the Tinubu government in its maiden budget “doesn’t even yet reflect the ambition of the government”, adding that the incumbent administration “wants to double the GDP before the end of the first term”.
He said the 2024 budget estimates awaiting approval at the National Assembly was “way too small” to Nigeria’s need but the government had to cut its coat according to its cloth.
The Budget Office director general insisted that despite the criticisms against the 2024 budget estimates, the appropriation bill caters for the poor in terms of healthcare, security, education and the economy.
TINUBU: SECURITY, JOB CREATION, POVERTY REDUCTION TOP PRIORITIES OF 2024 BUDGET
President Bola Tinubu says Nigeria’s national defence and internal security, local job creation, macro-economic stability, investment environment optimization, human capital development, poverty reduction, and social security are some of the top priorities of the 2024 Budget of Renewed Hope.
Addressing a joint session of the National Assembly on the 2024 Federal budget proposal on Wednesday in Abuja, President Tinubu said the nation’s internal security architecture will be overhauled to enhance law enforcement capabilities with a view to safeguarding lives, property, and investments across the country.
He said the proposed budget prioritizes human capital development, with particular attention given to children, because human capital remains the most critical resource for national development.
“To improve the effectiveness of our budget performance, the government will focus on ensuring value for money, greater transparency, and accountability. In this regard, we will work more closely with development partners and the private sector.
“To address long-standing issues in the education sector, a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education will be implemented, including the Student Loan Scheme scheduled to become operational by January 2024,” the President affirmed.
Speaking on the economy, President Tinubu said a stable macro-economic environment is crucial in his administration’s bid to catalyze private investment and accelerate economic growth; hence, his government shall continue to implement business and investment friendly measures for sustainable growth.
“We expect the economy to grow by a minimum of 3.76 percent, above the forecasted world average. Inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 percent in 2024. In preparing the 2024 Budget, our primary objective has been to sustain our robust foundation for sustainable economic development. A critical focus of this budget and the medium-term expenditure framework is Nigeria’s commitment to a greener future.
“Emphasizing public-private partnerships, we have strategically made provisions to leverage private capital for big-ticket infrastructure projects in energy, transportation, and other sectors. This marks a critical step towards diversifying our energy mix, enhancing efficiency, and fostering the development of renewable energy sources. By allocating resources to support innovative and environmentally conscious initiatives, we aim to position Nigeria as a regional leader in the global movement towards clean and sustainable energy.
“As we approach the COP28 climate summit, a pivotal moment for global climate action, I have directed relevant government agencies to diligently work towards securing substantial funding commitments that will bolster Nigeria’s energy transition. It is imperative that we seize this opportunity to attract international partnerships and investments that align with our national goals. I call upon our representatives to engage proactively to showcase the strides we have made in the quest to create an enabling environment for sustainable energy projects.
“Together, we will strive for Nigeria to emerge from COP28 with tangible commitments, reinforcing our dedication to a future where energy is not only a catalyst for development but also a driver of environmental stewardship,” he said.
The President said a conservative oil price benchmark of 77.96 U.S. Dollars per barrel and a daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million barrels per day were adopted after a careful review of global oil market trends, and that a Naira to U.S. Dollar exchange rate of 750 naira per U.S. Dollar was adopted for 2024 as well.
Giving a breakdown of the 2024 Appropriation Bill, the President said: “Accordingly, an aggregate expenditure of 27.5 trillion naira is proposed for the Federal Government in 2024, of which the non-debt recurrent expenditure is 9.92 trillion naira while debt service is projected to be 8.25 trillion naira and capital expenditure is 8.7 trillion naira. Nigeria remains committed to meeting its debt obligations. Projected debt service is 45% of the expected total revenue.
“The budget deficit is projected at 9.18 trillion naira in 2024 or 3.88 percent of GDP. This is lower than the 13.78 trillion naira deficit recorded in 2023, which represented 6.11 percent of GDP. The deficit will be financed by new borrowings totaling 7.83 trillion naira, 298.49 billion naira from Privatization Proceeds, and 1.05 trillion naira draw down on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific development projects.”
President Tinubu said his administration remains committed to broad-based and shared economic prosperity, adding: “We are reviewing social investment programmes to enhance their implementation and effectiveness. In particular, the National Social Safety Net project will be expanded to provide targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households.”
He also said efforts will be made to further contain financial leakages through the effective implementation of key public financial management reforms.
The President commended the patriotic resolve of the 10th National Assembly to collaborate with the Executive on the mission to renew the hope of Nigerians and deliver on the promises made to Africa’s largest population.
“As you consider the 2024 Budget estimates, we trust that the legislative review process will be conducted with a view to sustaining our desired return to a predictable January-December fiscal year. I have no doubt that you will be guided by the interest of all Nigerians. We must ensure that only projects and programs with equitable benefits are allowed into the 2024 Budget. Additionally, only projects and programs that are in line with the sectoral mandates of MDAs and those which are capable of realizing the vision of our administration should be included in the budget,” the President declared.
Senate Gives Kyari, NUPRC Boss 24 Hours To Appear For Budget Defense
Share The Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, on Wednesday, directed the Group Chief Executive Officer of...
Economic: IMF Wrong On Nigeria’s Projections – Budget Office
Share The Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been...
NJC Recommends Appointment Of 11 Supreme Court Justices
Share The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the appointment of 11 justices to the Supreme Court. A statement by...
Economic: Osinkolu Assures Nigerians Of Better Days Ahead
Share A financial expert, Dr Olusegun Osinkolu has appealed to Nigerians to exercise patients with the economic team put together...
Senator Natasha lauds NDDC, NLNG partnership on local content
ShareSenator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, lawmaker representing Kogi Central senatorial district has commended the pact between Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and...