The Nigerian government defends Seplat over pioneer status controversy

The Nigerian government has come out with a robust defence of indigenous oil and gas company, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc over a newspaper report that the company fraudulently obtained its Pioneer Status Incentive.

The defence was communicated via a newspaper advert in Thisday of Saturday May 23, 2015. In the publication, the government debunked claims of any wrongful grant of Pioneer Status Incentive to undeserving companies by NIPC between 2010 and 2014 and the resultant loss of revenue to the tune of $20 billion.

The statement, which was jointly signed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Investment Promotions Council (NIPC), and the Revenue Mobilization federal government, provided further insight into the process leading up to the granting of the status incentives to deserving companies like Seplat.

“There is no established case of fraud in granting pioneer status incentive to companies by NIPC as alleged because the approval to grant Pioneer Status Incentive to Nigerian owned oil companies was duly approved by the federal government.” The policy move is said to be in line with the Local Content Policy of the government to promote Nigerian Content Development, local capacity and capabilities.

Singling out Seplat for commendation, the statement pointed that “the motive behind the publication is difficult to understand, yet it remains very disturbing when one considers its negative impact on the reputation and integrity of the highly reputable Nigerian company, Messrs Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc that had attained the enviable feats of being listed and successfully trading in the Nigerian and London Stock  Exchanges.”

Continuing further it noted that “it has been established that the contribution of the indigenous oil companies to national oil production has increased from 3 percent to 9 percent as a result of the grant of pioneer status incentive.”

The government emphasized that it will continue to support the growth of investment in Nigeria without compromising the need for enhanced revenue, adding that the revenue loss quoted by critics was “unrealistic, speculative and lacked any material basis.”


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