Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Ogbonnaya Orji, has said Nigeria lost over N16.25 trillion due to oil theft in the country.
Orji in a report to the report to the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Bamidele Salam, during an interactive session in Abuja, also claimed that $74.386 billion was spent on fuel subsidy by successive administrations since 2011.
According to him, the Agency has compiled the actual amount paid as subsidy on yearly basis. Orji claimed that the compilation was based on data collated and signed off by operators in the industry and other stakeholders.
According to him, NEITI also uncovered over $8.3 billion unremitted revenue by some privately owned oil firms and Federal Government-owned Agencies which was not paid into the Federation Account, in deviant to provisions in the extant financial regulations.
He, however, noted that the Agency is working with various enforcement Institutions including Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and related offences Commission (ICPC) as well as Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in the bid to recover the find into government’s coffers.
He said: “I have here, for instance, revenues we have earned from oil and gas since 1999. We also have here all the subsidy payments made. Since 2005 when it became a scandal, we began to collect the data. We began to ask question on subsidy and as at 2021, the country had paid, $74.386 billion on subsidy.
“And we have breakdown of what was paid each year. We have also got a conversion of what that can possibly translate to”, he stated.
He also informed the gathering that, $16.25 billion was lost to oil theft in Nigeria stating that the data was arrived at from a data collected from various sign offs by operators and government agencies.
“In the course of this job, we have incentivized a lot of recoveries for the government because between what is paid and what was recovered, a lot of money in foreign exchange developed wings. Company A will say we paid $1 million and you go to the account of the receiving agency and you find out that either half of that money was not received or more is received more than what was paid because of poor record keeping and carelessness.”
While rolling out the last report NEITI released on the 25th of September, 2023, he announced that the PAC is now a natural ally of his agency and he will give it all the maximum cooperation needed.
“In that report alone, over $8.3 billion were unremitted funds on the part of some government agencies and companies. Our concern is that, this is at a time when the government is going borrowing. So, we bring this information with incisive and empirical information and data with evidence and table it.
“We have also released the same report on the solid mineral sector and all the information and data are provided. On the 9th of November, we are releasing the last report for the year which is on fiscal allocation and statutory disbursements.
“In every year, under the EITI framework, developed template, we ask the question, how much money do the companies pay to the government. How much of that money does government receive? Where is the money? What did we use the money for? And in the wisdom of the National Assembly in formulating the law, we said we shouldn’t just say no to the only money the government received or how much the companies paid but we should ask if they pay what they should pay and if the government receive what they should receive”.
Mr. Orji disclosed that the the Agency to will release the report on the fiscal allocation and statutory disbursement on the 9th November, 2023 and the beneficiaries from the fund.
According to him, “The revenue that were made, who got what and how, were the sharing formular followed, what of the 13% derivation fund, what of those statutory receivers like TETFUND, PTDF, like INEC and all those that received Extractive sector directly from the revenue account.
“Where do they trace the money for the account, where did it go to? Sometimes we take all of these for granted but it’s not always like that. If you go through this report and follow up you’ll be shocked that it’s not just sharing and allocation. Getting to the people, the government abd the right sources has also been a huge challenge and that is what we’re been battling with,” the NEITI helmsman told the Committee.