Nigeria gets tough on oil companies over $9.6 bil of unpaid taxes, royalties: auditors

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the country’s revenue collection agencies to recover from oil companies the sum of $9.6 billion, being debt owed in taxes and royalties that was either unpaid or underpaid over the last 10 years, the oil industry’s auditors, NEITI, said Tuesday.

Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative last November released a report stating that oil and gas companies operating in the West African country owed $9.6 billion to the government in taxes and royalties.

“President Goodluck Jonathan has directed all agencies affected by NEITI audit reports to recover the outstanding $9.6 billion uncovered by NEITI audit reports of the oil and gas sector,” NEITI said in a statement. Jonathan gave the directive when he met NEITI officials in Abuja on Monday, it added.

Even though NEITI at that time, did not provide a breakdown of what the oil and gas companies owed, it did reveal that state oil company Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. failed to remit into the federation account the sum of $3.996 billion, which were oil and gas revenues earned between 2009 and 2011.

NNPC has denied the NEITI claim, saying that the report was full of inaccuracies.

Foreign oil companies operating in Nigeria include Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Eni and Total.

Jonathan has been under pressure to clean up the country’s energy industry — which pumps more than 2 million b/d of oil — after presidential and parliamentary probes launched last year into the management of the sector resulted in damning reports that detailed huge losses in revenue due to current practices.


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