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Politics

HoR takes steps to recover debts owed by Oil & Gas companies

Nigeria

*Mandates c’ttees to take inventory of NNPC, legitimate transition process

Tom Okpe, Abuja

The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to recover all outstanding debts owed by Oil and Gas Companies.

The call emanated from a motion raised by Hon Ahmed Munir during plenary on Wednesday.

Raising the motion, Munir cited a report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) that 77 Oil and Gas Companies operating in Nigeria owe the Federal Government over N2.6 trillion.

He explained that the debts accrued from the 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.

The lawmaker, representing Lere Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, decried such huge debt being overlooked at a critical time when the country needs funding for its annual budget.

Following the adoption of the motion, the House further urged 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 Oil and Gas Companies.

Also, the House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Finance, Petroleum Resources (Upstream) and (Downstream), Gas Resources to conduct investigations into the consolidated Inventory, Assets, Interest and Liabilities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiaries to ensure legitimate transition process of NNPC to NNPC Limited.

This 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” sponsored by Rep Isiaka Ibrahim, (APC, Ogun State) at plenary on Wednesday.

Explaining further, Rep Ibrahim 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.

He noted that the NNPC is empowered to manage joint ventures between the federal government and several foreign multinational corporations with assets and interests on land, swamp, continental shelf and deep waters.

According to the lawmaker, in 1988, the NNPC was commercialised 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 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.

“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,” he said.

The lawmaker said the House should consider his motion cognizant of the need to boost investors’ confidence and enhance transparency and efficiency in the supply chain management of the newly established NNPC Ltd, owing to outstanding credit sales and the much-needed revenues by the Federal Government to support annual budgets.

The House, however, adopted the motion and urged its relevant committees to report within eight (8) weeks for further legislative action.

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Chuka Francis

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