A mild drama played itself out on Friday as President Goodluck Jonathan received the report of the Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force on Friday. While Malam Nuhu Ribadu who believes stricter measures should be put in place in order to regulate the sector said “the recommendation of our task force will strengthen institutions responsible for the management of petroleum institution, increase revenue accruing to the federal government of Nigeria”, some members of the Task Force had other opinions.
“Mr. President our assignment is essentially to enhance government revenue in proving transparency and accountability and help you to fight corruption in this industry. Therefore in the course of the assignment, our work was extensive, our findings details and our recommendations far reaching in these various issues covered in our terms of reference”, Ribadu said.
He stated further that “the government will need to put in place a coherent financing solution that allows government to fund it’s obligation under the joint venture contract. Funding Government obligation will unlock additional capital from our JV partners which will overtime increase government revenue from the proportionate additional balance of crude oil revenues, royalties on the entire production and taxes on taxable incomes. Funding Government obligation will unlock additional capital from our JV partners which will overtime increase government revenue from the proportionate additional balance of crude oil revenues, royalties on the entire production and taxes on taxable incomes”.
Mr Steve Oronsaye, the Task Force’s Deputy Chairman however stunned everyone when he said “I want to say to you Mr. President that the process that has been followed is flawed and the report that has just been submitted to the honourable Minister is the immediate reaction to the President’s directive that the report be submitted. The last time this committee met was in early July when the draft report was to be considered and I raised certain pertinent issues. It was agreed and suggested and accepted at that meeting that a small group be put together to review, modify and return to the report drafting committee before presenting to the whole house. That did not happen. No matter how good the efforts that have been put into this exercise, as long as the process is flawed and that report is one that cannot be implemented. When Mr. President gave the directed that the report be submitted today, we should have been man enough to say, it is not feasible. When I came in, I asked the secretary, where is the signature page? He said the chairman is to sign for all of us. I said certainly, I have not authorized anybody to sign on my behalf. I don’t know what the report contains. Therefore, in my view, I do not think the report should be accepted at this time, I challenge any member of this committee to take me on.”
President Jonathan urged any member of the committee that has any contrary opinion to what is in the report send them to him through the his Chief of Staff or the Minister for Petroleum Resources.