The House of Representatives has stated that oil companies granted mining and oil prospecting lease in the country are indebted to the federal government to the tune of $2billion.
This was disclosed yesterday by the ad hoc committee investigating all oil prospecting licences (OPLs) and Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) granted by the federal government.
Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Hon Gideon Gwani while addressing a press conference in Abuja said the oil companies have refused to pay the compulsory fee to the federal government adding that the companies which ought to salvage the situation of the country by making payment when due, owes the government hundreds of millions of dollars thus compounding the problem.
Gwani who described the situation as alarming and worrisome, said this is a dangerous trend that should not be allowed to continue.
“It is estimated that the oil companies by their actions have either evaded or avoided the payment of these compulsory fees which is presumed to have denied the federal government the sum of about $2billion. At a time when the government is talking of obtaining loans for infrastructural development, such as roads, railways, powers plants, petroleum refineries, among others and where oil blocs have been allocated to some companies to use the proceeds accruing from royalties, signature bonuses etc, to fund these important projects yet, several years after, these facilities are still comatose with little or no new projects to show as approved”, Gwani lamented.
He expressed displeasure at the refusal of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele to respond to the request of the committee but stressed the committee’s resolve to continue investigating the matter.