By Sarah Kent
LONDON--Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathon Monday directed government agencies to recover $7.8 billion that audits carried out by the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative found oil companies operating in the country owed the government in unpaid and underpaid taxes, NEITI said Tuesday.
According to the audits, Nigeria's government has experienced a potential revenue loss of $9.8 billion as a result of under-assessments and under-payments of taxes and rents, process manipulation and poor interpretation of agreements between the government and companies, NEITI said, adding that it has already helped recover $2 billion but $7.8 billion remains outstanding.
However, in the past members of the industry have contested NEITI's findings.
Earlier in the year, Nigeria's state oil company, Nigeria National Petroleum Corp., or NNPC, vehemently denied findings by NEITI that suggested the company owed the government $8.16 billion for crude oil sales made between 2009 and 2011.
An industry source suggested that NEITI had misunderstood some of the figures it was given in its last report and clarification has been sought.
Foreign oil companies operating in Nigeria include Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA), Eni SpA (E), Total SA (>> Total SA), Exxon Mobil Corp. (>> Exxon Mobil Corporation) and Chevron Corp. (>> Chevron Corporation).
Shell and Eni declined to comment. Total, Chevron and Exxon were not available to comment.
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