NEITI seeks probe of $15.8bn NLNG dividends

NEITI seeks probe of $15.8bn NLNG dividendsThe Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has called on the Federal Government to commission an independent investigation into the status and utilisation of all dividends and loan repayments by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Waziri Adio, made the call in Abuja while speaking on the agency’s policy brief that examined unremitted funds, economic recovery and oil sector reforms.

In the policy brief, NEITI stated, “Since the federation’s shareholding in the NLNG is held through the NNPC, dividends are paid to the NNPC, which should remit same to the federation. However, until 2015, the NNPC failed to remit the interests and dividends from the NLNG to the Federation Account.”

Reacting to this, Adio stated that the total outstanding dividends and loan repayments by the NLNG to the NNPC but not remitted to the Federation Account stood at over $15.8bn.

Providing a breakdown of the payments from 2000 to 2014, he stated that the NLNG dividends, interests and loan repayments to the corporation in 2000 was $211,341,000; 2001, $322,077,000; 2002, $226,562,000; 2003, $436,272,000; 2004, $280,095,000; 2005, $207,282,000; 2006, $332,980,000; 2007, $842,957,000; and 2008, $2,613,170,000.

Others are $879,839,000 for 2009; 2010, $1,427,512,000; 2011, $2,537,503,000; 2012, $2,795,531,000; 2013, $1,289,592,000; and 2014, $1,420,000,000.

“The total sum is therefore $15,822,713,000,” Adio said.

He noted that the payments were traced to the NNPC accounts by NEITI independent auditors but observed that there was no trace of remittance of the money to the Federation Account as required by Sections 80(1) and 162 (1) of the Constitution.

On domestic crude allocation and management, Adio expressed concerns that earnings from daily allocation of 445,000 barrels for domestic use had not been properly accounted for.

He said, “First, the refineries have been operating at below full capacity for a long time and currently process less than 100,000 barrels per day. Between January 2015 and September 2016, the NNPC lifted a total of 245.4 million barrels of crude oil for domestic use. Out of this total, only 24.7 million barrels were delivered to the refineries.

“This represents a mere 10.06 per cent of the total crude oil lifted for domestic use for that period. The remainder of this allocation was exported through a variety of channels; 64.8 million barrels or 26.4 per cent were exported directly; 97.6 million barrels or 39.77 per cent were sold under the offshore processing agreements; and 58.29 million barrels or 23.75 per cent were sold under the direct sales-direct purchase scheme.”

He stated that concerns raised in NEITI’s audits and by other stakeholders about the inefficiency of these arrangements, especially the OPA, led to its discontinuation in April 2016.

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