This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Neiti to Pursue Recovery of Debt Owed FG By Oil Firms

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said that it will henceforth lay strict emphasis on adherence to a section of its establishing Act which empowers it to monitor revenue remittance from Nigeria's extractive industries to the Federal Government.

NEITI disclosed that by its insistence on extreme adherence to Section 3(f) of the NEITI Act 2007, which mandates it to monitor and ensure that all payments due to the Federal Government from all companies operating in Nigeria's extractive industry are accounted for; it hopes to push for greater accountability in remittances to the government.

Rising from its retreat in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Chairman of the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) of NEITI, Mr. Ledum Mitee explained that remittances due to the Federal Government from the sector in the form of taxes, royalties, dividends, bonuses, penalties, levies as well as all outstanding under-payments and under assessments discovered and publicly reported by previous NEITI audit reports will be vigorously recovered from existing debtors.

"We have resolved henceforth, to place greater emphasis on our powers under Section 3(f) of the NEITI Act that requires us to monitor and ensure that all payments due to the Federal Government from all extractive industry companies, including taxes, royalties, dividends, bonuses, penalties, levies and such like, are duly made.

"This necessarily includes all outstanding cases of under-payments and under assessments discovered and publicly reported by previous NEITI Audit Reports.

"NEITI can no longer sit down and watch and allow these recoverable funds in the hands of the companies at a time the Federal Government is searching for funds to finance the deficits in the annual budgets," he stated.

Mitee noted in a statement from NEITI Friday in Abuja that the transparency agency will also invoke relevant sanctions under Section 16 of its Act against any company found to have rendered false information or failed to provide appropriate statements of accounts to industry auditors contracted by NEITI especially in the reported cases where this had resulted to under-payments and under- assessments that led to huge revenue loss to the country.

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