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NEITI uncovers $9.8bn unpaid taxes from oil companies, others

By on June 11, 2013

Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, has uncovered unremitted taxes amounting to $9.8 billions (N1.538 trillion) by oil companies into the federation account.

This came as President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, promised that the Federal Government would soon review the law setting up the agency to strengthen its operations for optimum performance.

The unremitted taxes resulted from under-payment of taxes and rents, through under-assessment, process manipulation and poor management of agreements between the Federal Government and different companies.

Speaking to newsmen after meeting with the President,  NEITI Chairman, Ledum Mitee, who disclosed this, however, said NEITI had been able to recover $2 billion (N314 billion), being money owed the Federal Government as unremitted taxes by companies operating in oil, gas and mineral sectors of the economy.

Mitee lamented that the cut in agency’s budgetary allocation was negatively affecting its operations, adding that between 2011 and 2013, the agency’s budget had been reduced by about 50 percent, a situation he added was affecting its smooth operation.

Mitee said: ”What we have tried to identify is that between 2011 and 2013, there has been some 50 percent reduction in our budgetary allocation which we thought was threatening the smooth operation of our work.

”The fact that we won an international award at the Sydney global EITI conference last month where Nigeria was adjudged the best country in compliance with its standards.

”Our responsibility is to identify gaps. The key issue which came out of the meeting was that we have to close the gap between what NEITI is doing and what the economic management team is doing”.

He noted that of the 39 countries implementing EITI, Nigeria’s mode of implementation had been rated the best.

He said: ”We are not just out to find faults. We are there to help government to even raise revenue and identify gaps so that they can be remedied and that should be seen within the larger frame work of the reforms we all pray for”.

He said the agency was able to achieve this feat through the collaboration of relevant agencies working under the aegis of  Inter-Ministerial Task Team, IMTT, from additional assessments.

FG to review NEITI law — Jonathan

Speaking while receiving a report from the National Stakeholder’s Working Group, NSWG, led by its Chairman, Ledum Mitee, President Jonathan pledged that the law that set up NEITI would soon be reviewed to make it more effective.

According to the President, “NEITI is not just a watchdog organisation but also one playing a critical role in the economy with additional responsibilities.”

Commending the leadership of NEITI for the level of successes recorded, while urging it to maintain the tempo to export the exemplary performance to other countries.

The President said the issues of funding and gaps in the synergy between NEITI and certain major government bodies would soon be addressed with the setting up of IMTT which would also see to the “proper integration of NEITI into the economic agenda of government.”