From Joe Effiong, Uyo
International oil giant ExxonMobil has absolved itself from the allegation that International Oil Companies (IOCs) have defaulted in making their three per cent contributions to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The company said the recent statement by the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio, that IOCs were not making their contributions to the NDDC did not apply to them.
ExxonMobil Manager (Media and Communications) Ogechukwu Udeagha, who gave the explanation while interacting with reporters as part of activities to mark the Correspondents Chapel Week of the NUJ, Akwa Ibom State Council, in Uyo on Tuesday, said the company has remitted N67.5 billion to the interventionist agency in the past 19 years.
He also said that the company has not shirked in its corporate social responsibility as evident in some of its social investments in the areas of its operations.
Udeagha described as an irony the fact that the people of the region were ‘asking the OICs to do the work that NDDC is supposed to do.’
Flanked by the Manager, Public Affairs and Government Relations, Effiong Esumo, Udeagha also refuted claims that the firm was not paying tax adequately to the Akwa Ibom State Government, saying its employees pay between 6 and 7 billion naira annually as tax to the state government.
’70 per cent of our staff live and work here in the state and we pay to the state government through PAYE and of course the 13 per cent derivation. You can therefore realise the impact we are making on the state economy. We are closely linked with the state government and it’s important that we work together,’ he said.
On the alleged sack of some employees and contract staff, he stated: ‘We keep our contractor’s obligation and by law, we cannot sack contract staff because they are not our staff. They are not under our purview. We didn’t sack any contract staff or employees.’