The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has urged the international oil companies operating in Nigeria to resolve a $7 billion debt.

Emmanuel Ojugbana, the PENGASSAN national public relations officer, stated that the reconciliation was expedient to both the affected companies and government agencies to ensure transparency and accountability in the fiscal regime process of the oil industry.

The organization’s statement says that the industry, being the mainstay of the economy, has been the major focus of the government in recent times.

According to the statement, the business and social partners are urged to clear themselves of the load of legal, tax and other fiscal issues that are pinned on the oil and gas sector as the burden-bearer of the economy.

The statement notes: “It would be recalled that NEITI had promised to help the federal government recover over $7bn owed by oil companies as cases of under-payments and under-assessment, arising from subjective interpretation of Memoranda of Understanding and tax laws.”

Emmanuel Ojugbana added: “PENGASSAN believes and has consistently demanded that government should settle the debts owed oil companies as it is affecting their ability to fund joint ventures operations. The oil companies, as corporate citizens, should also live up to their contractual and statutory obligations.”

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