The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating gas flaring has vowed to recover over $9 billion fines imposed by Federal Government on erring local and foreign companies operating in the Oil and Gas Companies industry.
Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee investigating gas flaring, Ahmed Munir gave the assurance in Abuja, during the post-investigative hearing briefing.
The briefing was attended by various stakeholders drawn from Federal Ministry of Environment, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), among others.
Hon. Munir who is worried by the level of impunity being perpetuated by the operators,
vowed that the 10th Assembly will do within its powers to ensure the recovery of all unpaid levies as well as compliance with extant legislations and regulations.
He said: “I can assure you that we will not take this lying down. There are two ways to go about it, we have the issues of penalties that are not paid, amounting to about $9 billion or thereabout, that one is there. We know how to recover it.
“Secondly, going forward, those that are still polluting how do you ensure you get it down to zero and what are the penalties that are going to be out in place.
“Thirdly, the big difference between then and now is, we now have a PIA in place so how do you implement it. Where we have loophole that’s why we are here to hear from the people concerned. Is there any amendment that will be required?
“If you are going to bid for oil bloc in Nigeria, and you see that out of the criteria one is your gas master plan, how do you key into that? You can’t win a bid without ensuring you’ll be able to utilise that gas or evacuate the gas responsibly.
“The issue of how many people do FIRS run around and.make them to.pay their taxes, if you’re a contractor and you are bidding, and you don’t have your FIRS Certificate, you are not going to go anywhere if you don’t have various certificates whether BPP, BPE or whatever may be the case.
“So, if don’t have that, you can’t win the bid, so are we going to go and look for you to pay your fees or you go yourself to pay your fees? So, we have to create a mechanism where the business environment requires that certain things need to be put in place.
“If an establishment is going out to go and look for loan and you are owing another bank, I believe there’s a central database of CBN that even if you’re owing N1 you’ll be declined.
“So, why shouldn’t we have a centralised database of defaulters owing, of the people who are not doing the right thing they can’t further renege on these issues,” Munir noted.