By Godwin Oritse
INTERNATIONAL Oil Companies, IOCs, operating in Nigeria paid N828 billion ($2.3billion) as education taxes and levies to the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC between 2014 and 2016.
Members of the Oil Producing Trade Section (OPTS) of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) disclosed this, in Abuja, during a presentation at the House of Representatives’ Public Hearing on Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State.
The group opposed a proposal seeking to fund the university with additional taxes and levies from its members. The IOCs expressed concern over the imposition of annual levy of 0.3 percent of the total budget of all oil producing companies in the Niger Delta area to fund the Nigerian Maritime University.
According to the group, the oil and gas industry supported the development of the Nigerian educational system through the payment of statutory fiscal obligation, such as Petroleum profit tax, Corporate income tax and royalties.
“Our key comment is on Section 1(3b) of the Bill, which seeks to impose an annual 0.3 percent of the total annual budget of all oil producing companies operating in the Niger Delta area. While OPTS acknowledges the importance for companies to contribute to education in Nigeria, we believe that we already make enormous contribution to the education sector.
“In communities where we operate, OPTS members have consistently demonstrated full commitment to education development through the provision of both national and international scholarships, educational infrastructure, mentorship programmes and other forms of educational support.
In 2015 alone, OPTS members’ voluntary contributions totaled over $141million in support of Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, initiatives geared towards infrastructure development and education, to name a few.”
According to the group, Section 1 (3b) of the Bill seeking to establish the Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko in Delta State should be expunged.