Senate committee says $49.8bn oil funds not missing

The Senate Joint Committee on Finance has said that contrary to claims by suspended CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, there is never any unremitted $49.8 billion.

This formed part of the report of the Senate Committee on Finance which investigated the allegations by Sanusi that $49.8 billion was not remitted by the NNPC into the Federation Account.

The report was signed by the committee’s Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and nine members.

According to the report, the total crude oil lifting between January 2012 and July 2013 was 67 billion dollars and not 65 billion dollars as the CBN governor had presented.

The committee stated that the CBN, NNPC, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources had agreed after reconciliation that the sum of 47 billion dollars out of the 67 billion dollars had been credited to the Federation Account.

“The problem of non-remittance of revenues by the NNPC was not new and it was not the CBN that first disclosed it.

“The committee could not see how the figure of 49.8 billion dollars was arrived at by the CBN governor in the first instance,” it said.

The committee recommended for complete discontinuation of the fuel subsidy regime in the country.

It, however, recommended that NNPC should refund to the Federation Account, the total sum of 218,069,354.32 dollars being the balance of the gross lifting under the third party financing.

The committee also recommended that inter-agencies reconciliation meetings between institutions such as the Ministry of Finance, NNPC, CBN and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) should be done on regular basis.

It said such regular meetings among those sensitive economic institutions would prevent a recurrence of this situation and ensure that all revenues were properly and legally accounted for.

It urged the Senate to accept the N813.8 billion subsidy deductions by the NNPC from January 2012 to July 2013, since it was certified by the PPPRA and appropriated for by the National Assembly.

The committee, in addition, asked the Senate to accept the subsidy deducted by NNPC in the sum of N180 billion for the fourth quarter of 2011 which was also certified by the PPPRA and appropriated by the National Assembly.

The committee noted that no proposal was made in the 2014 appropriation bill for subsidy on kerosene, adding that the subsidy on PMS is inadequate.

Also, the committee advised that NNPC should henceforth not pay their operational expenditures direct from the Federation Fund without appropriation by the National Assembly.

It stressed that the oil corporation should strictly adhere to international best practises in keeping records.

It cautioned that NNPC should not control the revenue account of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) so as not to undermine its separate legal status and make accountability more difficult.

The committee further advised the NNPC to ensure due process and diligence in its operations, and urged the Senate to urgently pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law so as avoid the mistakes of the past.

Author: News Editor

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