. . . Laments request to fund maritime university
International Oil Companies (IOC) s operating in Nigeria paid a total of N828billion (or about $2.3billion) as education taxes and levies to the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC in the three years.The taxes and levies were paid between 2014 and 2016.In a presentation at the just-concluded Public Hearing on the Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko in Delta State, members of the Oil Producing Trade Section, (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed concerns over the imposition of an annual levy of 0.3%, percent of the total budget of all oil producing companies in the Niger Delta area to fund the Nigerian Maritime University.According to the group, it supports the development of the Nigerian educational system through the payment of statutory fiscal obligation.It explained that beyond the Petroleum profit tax, Corporate income and royalties, the oil and gas industry is burdened by a plethora of other taxes, levies and fees.It said, “Our key comment is on Section 1(3b) of the Bill, which seeks to impose an annual 0.3% of the total annual budget of all oil producing companies operating in the Niger Delta area.“While OPTS acknowledges the importance for companies to contribute to education in Nigeria, we believe that we already make enormous contribution to the education sector.“In communities where we operate, OPTS members have consistently demonstrated full commitment to education development through the provision of both national and international scholarships, educational infrastructure, mentorship programmes and other forms of educational support.“In 2015 alone, OPTS members voluntary contributions totalled over $141million in support of Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR initiatives geared towards infrastructure development and education, to name a few”.They were of the opinion that Section 1 (3b) of the Bill seeking to establish the Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko in Delta State be expunged adding that the group will continue to contribute to education in Nigeria through taxes, levies and fees.