Tayo Busayo, Abuja – The Federal Government has raked in N2.6 trillion from taxes and royalties paid by debtor international oil companies (IOCs) and other players in the extractive industry ecosystem since its membership of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

 

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, who made the disclosure in Abuja, on Tuesday, at the Civil Society Engagement on EITI Validation, said there exists a balance of $2.6 billion as of March 2022.

 

While thanking the National Assembly for its support in achieving the feat, he warned recalcitrant defaulters to pay up as soon as possible or have all relevant anti-graft agencies swoop on them to recover the government’s monies.

 

Orji explained that the Federal Government was in dire need of funds to operate, saying it was only rational that those indebted to the country pay up.

 

The NEITI CEO also revealed that the agency was warming up for another round of EITI validation audits by February 2023, assuring that all hands were on deck to come out successful.

 

“The forthcoming validation exercise will be conducted using the 2019 EITI standard. It’s done every three years. The global assessment is on and about Nigeria, not NEITI; our agency is only a platform to guide our country’s assessment.

 

“NEITI as an agency has developed a plan of action to prepare other stakeholders including its staff and board for the exercise based on what our country has accomplished as an EITI member country during the period under review”, he said.

 

He also revealed that the 2007 Act which the agency operates has become obsolete in view of the dictates of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and global realities, adding that plans were afoot to have it amended for greater efficiency of the agency.

 

“Part of what the amendment is to give us financial independence. We’re about the only government agency relying completely on FG funding. FG remains our partner, but we should not burden them with funding issues. We need to move fast with the amendment now that we have an administration that has the political will to amend it”, he said.