The Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Mr Ogbonnaya Orji, has said that the sum of N16.25 trillion was lost to unabated crude oil theft in the country.
This was based on data collated and signed off by the operators and other stakeholders in the industry,he also said.
He disclosed this on Tuesday while presenting the report of the $74.386bn spent on fuel subsidy by successive governments since 2011to the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Bamidele Salam during an interactive session in Abuja on Tuesday evening.
He also said the agency unmasked over $8.3 billion unremitted revenue by some privately owned oil companies and Federal Government owned agencies which was not paid into the Federation Account contrary to extant financial regulations.
He added that the agency is working collaboratively with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and related offenses Commission as well as Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit to retrieve the funds into the federation account.
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 questions on subsidy and as of 2021, the country had paid $74.386 billion in subsidy.
“And we have a breakdown of what was paid each year. We have also got a conversion of what that can possibly translate to”.
Speaking on what the nation lost due to crude oil theft,the NEITI boss said, “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.”
Reading out NEITI’s report released on the 25th of September, 2023, he announced the agency’s readiness to cooperate and work hand-in-hand with the Public Accounts Committee.
“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 NEITI framework, we ask the question: how much money do the companies pay to the government? How much of that money does the 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 received what they should receive.
“The revenue that was made, who got what and how? Were the sharing formula followed? What of the 13 per cent derivation fund? What of those statutory receivers like the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Petroleum Technology Development Fund and all those that receive the extractive sector directly from the revenue account.
“Where did they trace the money for the account, where did it go? 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 will be shocked that it’s not just sharing and allocation. Getting to the people, the government and the right sources has also been a huge challenge and that is what we’re been battling with,” Orji said.