By Oduyemi Odumade
Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Ogbonnaya Orji, says Nigeria lost over N16.25 trillion due to oil theft in the country.
Mr. Orji stated this while Presenting a report on the $74.386 billion spent on fuel subsidy by successive administrations since 2011 to the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr. Bamidele Salam, during an interactive in Abuja.
According to the Executive Secretary, the Agency has compiled the actual amount paid as subsidy on yearly basis.
Mr. Orji claimed that the compilation was based on data collated and signed off by operators in the industry and other stakeholders.
“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 fund into government’s coffers.
“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 questions on the 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.
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.
Mr. Orji disclosed that the Agency will release the report on the fiscal allocation and statutory disbursement on the 9th November, 2023 and beneficiaries from the fund.
Edited By Grace Namiji
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze