By Levinus Nwabughiogu
House of Representatives, Wednesday, set up an adhoc committee to interface with the 77 oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria with a view to recovering the reported N2.6 trillion owed to the federal government.
The Committee is chaired by the deputy chief whip of the House.
The resolution followed a motion titled “Urgent Need to Recover Outstanding Debts owed the Federal Government by Oil and Gas Companies in Nigeria”, presented at the plenary by Hon. Ahmed Munir.
Munir in the motion recalled the Report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) that 77 Oil and Gas Companies operating in Nigeria were owing the Federal Government over N2.6 trillion.
He said that the debts if recovered will help to boost the economy.
“The debts accrued from failure of the Firms to remit Petroleum Profit Tax, Company Income Tax, Education Tax, Value Added Tax, Withholding Tax, Royalties, Penalties and Concession on rentals to the Federal Government.
“Such a huge debt is being overlooked at a critical time when the country needs funding for its annual budget.
“If debts are recovered, the money could be used to service some of the Federal Government’s debts as well as fund up to 16.2 per cent of the 2022 budget deficit.
Recovery of the debts is critical in this period of dwindling revenues especially as the Covid-19 pandemic has grossly affected the country’s economy”, he said.
Adopting the motion, the House urged the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to
provide necessary data needed to facilitate recovery of debts owed the Federal Government by the oil and gas companies.
In a related development, the House also mandated the Committees on Finance, Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Petroleum Resources (Downstream)
and Gas Resources to conduct investigations into consolidated Inventory, Assets, Interest and Liabilities
of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiaries to ensure a legitimate transition process
of NNPC/NNPC Limited.
This decision followed a motion titled “Need to Ascertain the Total Consolidated Inventory, Assets, Interests and Liabilities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its Subsidiaries Before Transfer to the NNPC Limited to Ensure a Glossary Accounting System”, presented by Hon. Ibrahim A. Isiaka at the plenary.
In his motion, the House noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was established on April 1, 1977, as a merger of the Nigerian National Oil Corporation and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum and Energy Resources
Isiaka said: “NNPC is empowered to manage the joint venture between the federal government and several foreign multinational corporations with assets and interests on land, swamp, continental shelf and deep waters.
“In 1988, the NNPC was commercialized into 12 strategic business units covering the entire spectrum of oil industry operations including exploration and production, gas development, refining, distribution, petrochemicals engineering and commercial investments among others.
“In line with Section 53 (1) of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited was registered and incorporated by the Corporate Affairs Commission on September 22nd, 2021 as a Limited Liability Company with an initial capital of N200 Billion, which was
regarded as the highest share capital holding in Nigeria.
“Section 53 (3) of the PIA, which vests ownership of the NNPC Limited on the Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance, which are both financed by the Nigerian People, but recognizes NNPC limited as an Agent.”
The lawmaker added that Section 88 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) empowers the National Assembly to carry out investigations into matters to which it has powers to make laws.
He said that the need to boost investors’ confidence and enhance transparency and efficiency in the supply chain management of the newly established NNPC Ltd owing to the outstanding credit sales and the much-needed revenues by the Federal Government to support annual budgets.
Adopting the motion, the House gave the committees 8 weeks within which to conclude its assignment and report back to it for further legislative action.