20 Oil Firms Shun N’Assembly Hearing on NDDC 3% Devt Tax

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• Committee queries presentation of dollar remittances in naira

Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

Twenty oil companies out of the 31 invited by the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to an interactive session aimed at reconciling accounts for the three percent development tax were absent at the meeting on Thursday .

Oil firms operating onshore and offshore and gas processing companies operating in the Niger Delta region are required to contribute three percent of their annual budget estimates to the NDDC, to develop the region.

A few of the companies, including Addax Petroleum, were regarded as absent by the lawmakers, for sending officials below the rank of General Manager to represent their Managing Directors.

The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Peter Nwobochi, frowned upon the development, describing it as a disrespect for the parliament.

He also expressed displeasure at the firms who chose to send officials below the rank of General Manager, adding that the concession to accept the rank was made during the meeting, even though the Committee was initially insistent on having at least the rank of Executive Director.
“These companies that have refused to come here today would be given one more chance. The secretariat is directed to do a strongly worded letter to them…I hope they would not make us exercise our constitutional right,” he said.

The Committee heard from the Managing Director of Brittania-U Nigeria Ltd, Mrs. Uju Ifejika, that the company has not paid the three percent tax since its establishment in 2010.

She said the law did not take into cognisance small oil firms, and added that the firm has however been living up to its responsibilities to the community where it is operating.

“We have never had any issue of shut down… We are the only oil company that gave two percent equity stake in our block to our community,” she said.
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