Oil and gas companies need to pay their debt worth $2 billion immediately as the government needs the money to fund several projects, The Guardian Nigeria reported.

Companies need to urgently pay the respective agencies their due taxes, royalties and rents, said Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Orji Ogbonnaya Orji.

“The country needs the money right now,” he asserted.

The official said that NEITI, through its report, is holding companies accountable for their dues, stating companies must comply with its validation process every three years.

Meanwhile, Bunmi Toyobo, Executive Director at Oil Producers’ Trade Section, said that over 80% of the oil produced in Nigeria is lost to theft.

He said that operational challenges affecting companies include kidnapping, crude oil theft, and joint venture cash call arrears.

(Editing by Seban Scaria seban.scaria@lseg.com )