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Profit Tax: NEITI to refer defaulting oil, gas firms to anti-corruption agencies

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Orji Ogbonnaya Orji NEITI;s Executive Secretary
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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)(

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Business & Economy

We Have No Magic Wand, Tackling Inflation Will Take Time — Cardoso

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Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
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The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso has urged the citizens to be patient over the fight against current inflation and hike in food items in the country.

Cardoso disclosed this while briefing journalists at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting in Abuja.

The CBN governor mentioned that there was no magic needed to solve inflation in Nigeria but rather patience.

Also, Cardoso noted that despite pressure from food inflation, the general inflation rate was “moderating”, pointing out that “the tools the Central Bank is using are working”.

He stated, “I have several times and I will say again, there is no magic wand. These are things that need to take their time.

“I am pleased and confident that we are beginning to get some relief and in another couple of months we will see the more positive outcomes from the Central Bank have been doing.”

He added, “The committee thus reiterated several challenges confronting the effective moderation of food inflation to include rising costs of transportation of farm produce, infrastructure- related constraints along the line of distribution network, security challenges in some food producing areas, and exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices for imported food items.

“The MPC urged that more be done to address the security of farming communities to guarantee improved food production in these areas.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also blamed the recent volatility of the country’s foreign exchange market on seasonal demand for dollars.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system,” a communique issued by the committee on Tuesday stated.

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Port Harcourt Refinery Begins Full Operations Next Month

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Port Harcourt Refinery
Port Harcourt Refinery
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The 210,000-barrel-per-day Port Harcourt refinery is expected to commence operations by the end of July, following multiple delays.

National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, revealed this new timeline on Monday. He noted that the refinery’s operation would boost economic activities, reduce petroleum product prices, and ensure an adequate supply.

In December last year, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, announced the mechanical completion and flare start-off of the Port Harcourt refinery, the largest in the region.

The refinery consists of two units: an older plant with a 60,000-barrel-per-day capacity and a newer plant with a 150,000-barrel-per-day capacity. The refinery was shut down in March 2019 for the first phase of repairs after the government enlisted Italy’s Maire Tecnimont as a technical adviser and appointed oil major Eni as a technical adviser.

On March 15, 2024, NNPC Limited’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, announced that the Port Harcourt refinery would begin operations in about two weeks. He made this statement during a press briefing following his appearance before the Senate Ad hoc committee investigating the various turnaround maintenance projects of the country’s refineries.

“We achieved mechanical completion in December,” Kyari stated. “We now have crude oil stocked in the refinery and are conducting regulatory compliance tests. The Port Harcourt refinery will start within two weeks.”

However, two months later, the refinery had yet to commence operations.

In an interview, IPMAN’s Ukadike emphasized that the work done on the refinery represented a complete overhaul rather than mere rehabilitation. He assured that every effort was being made to meet the July deadline.

Ukadike said, “When we visited, the MD informed us that the refinery was nearly ready and would start production by the end of July. The overhaul is extensive, with all the armoured cables replaced and everything almost brand new. The maintenance turnaround is massive, with work being done day and night. All hands are on deck to meet the target. By the end of July, the refinery should be operational.”

When asked about the government’s previous unfulfilled promises to restart the refinery, Ukadike acknowledged the delays but noted that no reasons were given for missing the last deadline in April

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CBN Halts 0.5% Cybersecurity Levy

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CBN Headquarters Abuja
CBN Headquarters Abuja
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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has withdrawn the circular directing banks to implement a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on electronic transactions in the country.

The CBN announced this in a revised circular dated May 17, 2024.

The circular was addressed to commercial banks, Payment Service Providers (PSPs), non-interest, and merchant banks, among others.

It was signed by the CBN Director of Payment Systems Management, Chibuzor Efobi, and the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustafa.

The circular read: “The Central Bank of Nigeria circular dated May 6, 2024 (Ref: PSMD/DIR/PUB/LAB/017/004) on the above subject refers.

“Further to this, please be advised that the above-referenced circular is hereby withdrawn.”The withdrawal of the circular on the cybersecurity levy followed its suspension by President Bola Tinubu.

it would be recalls that Tinubu suspended the controversial cybersecurity levy on electronic transfers on May 14.

Minister of Information and National Orientation Mohammed Idris, who made this known while speaking to journalists after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, disclosed that Tinubu directed the CBN to suspend the implementation and review the modalities for the implementation of the levy.

Idris added that the levy was thoroughly discussed at the FEC meeting, saying the president was not oblivious to the feelings of Nigerians.

It would be recalled that CBN, in a circular dated May 6, directed banks to start charging a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on all electronic transfers.

The apex bank stated that the deduction and collection of the cybersecurity levy is a sequel to the enactment of the Cybercrime (prohibition, prevention etc) Amendment Act of 2024.

This was greeted with wide condemnations by Nigerians, with many groups and individuals calling for the immediate reversal of the levy.

The House of Representatives also asked the CBN to withdraw the directive.

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