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NEITI report: Reps go after 77 oil firms over unremitted N2.6tn revenue

NEITI report: Reps go after 77 oil firms over unremitted N2.6tn revenue

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NEITI report: Reps go after 77 oil firms over unremitted N2.6tn revenue

The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, commenced an investigative hearing into the N2.6tn owed the Federal Government by 77 oil companies operating in Nigeria.
The House is acting on the 2019 report of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative.Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, threatened that parliament might be forced to invoke the provisions of the Constitution against a company or official who fails or refuses to cooperate with the House on the probe.
Gbajabiamila noted that N2.6tn is a huge sum of money that should not be allowed to go down the drain, especially at a time when the Federal Government is experiencing a shortage of revenue to fund its annual budget budgets.
He said, “To underscore the importance of this exercise, let me make a bold statement that if there are companies or individuals that refuse to cooperate with the committee during this exercise, it may be the first time in the 9th Assembly or in the history that I will personally invoke the provisions of the Constitution and have such person arrested. That is how important this exercise is.
“If true, N2.6tn is not a child’s play; and it if is true, we need to recover that money for the good of the Nigerian people. So, I seek cooperation and plead for cooperation.”
The Speaker added, “There is direct nexus between revenue generation and infrastructural development. It is also very important and that is why the House, in its wisdom, decided to put in place an ad hoc committee even though there is a standing committee that works directly in this area. I expect that the deliberation will be thorough and interrogate if it is true that the NEITI report is what it is.”
Chairman of the committee and Deputy Chief Whip of the House, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, decried that why the government is in Dore need of fund to finance the 2022 Appropriation Act, some oil firms are holding on to its revenue.
Onyejeocha stated, “The truth has to be told. As we speak, we are looking for money to get the 2022 budget started and, yet, people are owing. Our concern is that such a huge debt is being overlooked. If this huge debt is recovered, It can be used to offset the part of government debt because the federal government is owing too.
“People has come up with different solutions on how to stop borrowing and how to make sure that we clear the debt. So, there is no way we can pretend that all is well, while others are pretending as if they don’t have obligation to government.
“So, we see this as a call for action because fir those who are knowing, you know that you are owing and do. Do you need NEITI to come up with a report. I agree that we should be objective. The scope of this investigation is what NEITI, NOSDRA and FIRS who are supposed to provide the records of debts owed to the Federal Government.”

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