The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative on Sunday praised the recent judgment by the Tax Appeal Tribunal ordering Mobil to pay $83.4m as tax to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
The tribunal recently ordered the oil giant to pay its Education Tax liability to the federation for the year 2008.
A statement by the Director, Communications, NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya, said the organisation saw the judgment as a positive development in its efforts to draw national attention to the findings and recommendations on the issues of underpayment and underassessment in royalties, taxes, signature bonuses and rents.
He said, “This judgment is also a vindication of the findings of the NEITI 2006 -2008 independent audit of the Oil and Gas sector. In that audit NEITI clearly revealed that Mobil owed $83.28m Education Tax for 2008.
“However, before this litigation and landmark judgment by the Tax Appeal Tribunal, Mobil had insisted that it had no Education Tax liability to the federation.”
Ogbonnaya stated that it was on record that NEITI had consistently alerted the nation that out of $9.8bn uncovered by its audit reports as the difference between what was paid and what government received, only $2bn had been recovered, leaving a balance of $7.8bn in the hands of companies.
He said the judgment by the tribunal was therefore a wake-up call for government agencies to rise up to the challenge and engage companies to remit outstanding revenues due to government.
He added, “It is noteworthy that the judgment is coming at a time when Nigeria through the Petroleum Industry Bill, the European Union member countries, United Kingdom and United State are putting in place stringent regulations to compel extractive industry companies to embrace contract transparency, due diligence and corporate social responsibility.
“With this judgment by the tribunal, NEITI hereby renews its appeal to all relevant government agencies that are responsible for collection and management of oil, gas and mining revenues to engage companies on issues of payments of all outstanding debt owed to the federation as already identified by our independent audit reports.”
Information from Punch was used in this report.