By Ediri Ejoh
LAGOS — Acting Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, has disclosed that 42 oil and gas companies operating in the country paid a total of $293 billion to the Federal Government between 2006 and 2012.
The money was said to have been paid by oil companies as taxes, royalty, dividends etc to government during the period. Orji stated this while speaking at the inauguration of NEITI-Companies’ Forum in Lagos.
According to him, the NEITI independent report for the period released recently, put the breakdown of the payment as $44.7 billion was paid in 2006, $43.7 billion in 2007, $60.4 billion in 2008 and $30 billion in 2009. In 2010, the companies paid $44.9 billion, $68.4 billion in 2011 and $62.9 billion in 2012.
Orji informed the forum that the payments were made by a combination of 42 oil companies covered by the NEITI audit process during this period.
Speaking on effort of NEITI to bring about sanity to the nation’s extraction industry, Orji stated that the era when tax and royalty payments made by companies were a secret at the disposal of the exclusive few was over.
He said: “Nigeria’s membership of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has enthroned a regime of openness and voluntary public disclosure in the industry,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the chairperson of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Clare Short, has expressed the support of the world body to the on-going reforms of the oil, gas and mining sector in Nigeria as recommended by NEITI.