Reps creates panel to investigate $13bn not remitted by NNPC

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NNPCThe Nigeria’s House of Representatives has raised a special panel to investigate the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over an alleged failure to remit $13b it generated from the sale of crude oil to the Federal government between January and August this year.

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The House has also mandated its Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream), National Planning and Finance, to summon the relevant Government Ministries and Agencies (MDA) over dwindling oil revenues as a result of the surge in shale gas production through fracturing or fracking.

The committees were given four weeks.

Of the $20b it generated within the period under review, the NNPC  remitted only $7b, a trend, Chairman of Public Account Committee(PAC), Solomon Adeola said was habitual of the oil giants that have been reporting shortfalls in its remittances to the Federal government since 2007.

The lawmakers resolved to raise an ad hoc Committee to conduct the investigation because two key Standing Committees of the House were found to have worked at cross purposes in their investigation of the organization.

The ad-hoc Committee’s investigation was to ascertaining the volume and value of crude oil sales and remittances into the Federation Account from January to date and report back within four weeks.

Haruna Manu (PDP, Taraba) who sponsored the motion said the motion was necessitated by information credited to the NNPC on the status and remittances to the Federation Account and claim that the total crude oil sales from January to August, 2013 was $20b, whereas the NNPC remitted only $7 to the Federation Account.

“A shortfall of $13b is unaccounted for in the period of January to August 2013. From September to date, no proper accounts have been rendered by the NNPC or records kept to show the actual amount and volume of crude oil sales by the NNPC,” he said.

Lawmakers that spoke in support of the motion were unanimous in their submission that there have been lingering issues of accountability and arbitrary management of oil revenue by NNPC.

They said there was a need to compel the corporation to render accounts of how much it derived from crude oil sales with the period and the actual amount it paid into the Federation Account.

Nnanna Igbokwe (PDP, Imo), Julius  Fakeye (APC, Osun), Eddie Mbadiwe (Imo, APC) Hassan El-Badawy (APC, Yobe) and Yakubu Balogun (APC, Lagos) raised concern over the divergent positions of the two Standing Committees on NNPC’s remittances.

They supported the prayer of the motion for a neutral Committee to handle the investigation because neither Committee on Finance nor Committee on Petroleum Resources could ascertain the correct generated revue from crude sale by NNPC.

Minority Whip. Samson Osagie described  NNPC is a dark tunnel that has been failing the nation by the secrecy of its operations and monumental fraud always associated with it.

Aisha Ahmed (PDP, Adamawa) said as long as Midstream sector of the petroleum industry is not defined, the country will continue to face fraud challenges in the NNPC.

“The Midstream sector that was not defined is a big problem because that is where all the sharp practices are taking place. Without Midstream that involves pipeline and transportation of products, we can never have accurate data.

“Why can’t we, as a legislature hasten the report of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and examine it objectively by tightening all the loopholes,” she noted.

Musa Ado (PDP, Kano) however questioned the essence of the investigation, saying previous efforts have yielded no results.

He cited the Subsidy regime investigation that attracted the attention of all Nigerians but achieved nothing despite the comprehensive report and recommendations of the ad hoc Committee that handled it.

The motion was unanimously supported when the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal put it to voice vote, though the ad hoc Committee was yet to be constituted,

The resolution of the House to investigate relevant MDAs over dwifling oil revenue followed a motion by Ben Nwankwo who  noted that the country’s crude oil market is under serious threat arising from the discovery of shale gas through hydraulic fracturing.

Nwankwo said hydraulic fracturing is a process of forcing water, chemicals and sand at high pressure into underground rocks. “This process causes the rocks to fracture and allows recovery, in commercial quantity, of shale gas and oil that was trapped in the rocks,

“It is disturbing that since 2012, there has been a gradual but steady divestment by major international oil companies which have embarked on the sale of their stake in some oil mining leads, especially in Nigeria’s shallow waters and onshore oil fields,” he said.

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsolahttps://naija247news.com
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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