The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), yesterday, confirmed that it is yet to remit $11.6 billion, about N2.32 trillion, into the Federation Account, blaming its inability to remit the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, dividends on an ongoing reconciliation process.
The NNPC, in a statement by Mr. Ohi Alegbe, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, stated that contrary to the impression created by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, that nothing was being done to get the money remitted, the matter has since been referred to the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) for reconciliation and resolution.
He faulted NEITI’s posture on the issue, stating that as a member of the IMTT, NEITI is aware of the ongoing efforts to reconcile and resolve the issue of NLNG dividend remittance.
He said: “At the last meeting of the IMTT, it was resolved that the Minister of Petroleum, Chairman of NEITI, Executive Secretary of NEITI, and the Group Managing Director of NNPC should meet on the issue of NLNG dividends and report back to the IMTT.
“Unfortunately, that meeting has not held. However, another meeting of the IMTT is coming up next week and the issue will be taken up from there.”
NEITI had on Tuesday accused the NNPC of refusing too remit $11.6 billion to the Federal Government from the NLNG investment. It also accused the NNPC of not being transparent in the transfer of eight oil wells to Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC.
However, the NNPC failed to state its position on the transfer of the oil well to NPDC.
Executive Secretary, NEITI, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who made the allegations in Abuja, described the transfer of eight oil wells sold by the NNPC to the NPDC in 2010 and 2011 as lacking in transparency and called for a full investigation into the transaction.
She said: “The position of NEITI is that the whole transaction is not transparent. The Federal Government needs to carry out a full investigation into the sale to ascertain the actual cost of the oil blocks and revenue loss to the Federation in the whole transaction.”
She further noted that a total of $11.6 billion which represents outstanding total dividends arising from loans and interest repayments from Federal Government’s investment in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) should be recovered by the President Muhammadu Buhari into government coffers.
She said: “Our 2012 Audit Report discovered that total dividend loans and interest repayment from LNG paid to the NNPC in 2012 was $2.8 billion, however in the course of NEITI’s audit, NNPC was unable to provide any evidence to provide that the funds were remitted to the federation as required by law.
“The total amount received by NNPC from LNG under the same circumstances which has not been remitted to the federation account stands at $11.6 billion.”
She explained that at a time when the new administration is in dire need of funds to tackle complex problems facing the nation, recovery of the funds should be pursued vigorously with all political will and seriousness it deserves.