Trouble for National Carrier as House Mulls Probe of Concession Deal

Trouble for National Carrier as House Mulls Probe of Concession Deal Investigates licensing rounds for marginal oilfields

There are indications that the House of Representatives is determined to investigate the concession agreement on the new National Carrier, Nigeria Air.

The indication emerged after a motion on the subject surfaced on the agenda of the green chamber Thursday, as item number five.

This is coming as the House also passed a motion mandating its ad hoc committee investigating the huge debts owed by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to indigenous contractors, to extend its investigative functions to marginal oilfields licence acquisitions.

The committee will also evaluate the financial proceeds from successful bids and remittance and non-remittance of revenues by the licensed operators into the Federation Account.

The motion to probe the national carrier sponsored by Hon. Dennis Agbo had demanded the setting up of an ad hoc committee to investigate the process of concession of the national carrier and ensure the selection of a credible core investor with a view to avoiding any failure, losses or embarrassment to the country.

Agbo had taken into cognisance the recent attempt to revive the national carrier by the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who had obtained a conditional Certificate of Compliance, along with the Outline Business Case (OBC) from the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC).

He expressed worry that as a result of alleged questionable manner the process was carried out, the arrangement might fail again and bring the country avoidable losses and embarrassment.

He said while ICRC, in the conditional certificate, stated that the process should be at zero investment and management interference by the federal government, the Federal Ministry of Transport had already indicated an initial requirement of $8.8 million and another $300 million for the purchase of aircraft by December 2018.

According to him, these funds were not in the 2018 budget.

He added that the federal government had equally gone ahead to organise a road show scheduled for Thursday in London.

The motion further raised concern that the ministry had proceeded with the process in such a curious, hastened and in complete disregard of the pre-conditions in the OBC by ICRC, which is charged with ensuring integrity and favourable outcome of any concession of national assets.

However, the motion was stepped down and deferred to a future date because Agbo was not in the chamber when it was mentioned for consideration by House Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara.

House to Investigate Marginal Fields Licensing Rounds

Meanwhile, the House Thursday passed a motion mandating its ad hoc committee investigating the huge debts owed by the IOCs to the indigenous contractors to extend its investigative functions to the processes of marginal oilfields’ licence acquisition.

The committee is also expected to evaluate the financial proceeds from the successful bids, remittance and non-remittance of revenues by the marginal fields’ operators into the Federation Accounts.

The lawmakers will also query the strategic alliance agreements between IOCs, investors and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in the operations of the oilfields.

The resolution of the lower chamber followed a motion moved under matters of urgent public importance by Hon. Diri Douye (PDP, Bayelsa) on the urgent need to launch investigation into the oil and gas fields from 2001 to 2017.

He expressed concern that more than a decade after the award of the first marginal fields’ Oil Mining Leases (OMLs), the combined production volume of the marginal field operators (MFOs) are yet to make any significant impact in the Nigerian oil and gas industry and currently accounting for less than four per cent of the country’s crude oil output, according to the NNPC.

He further noted that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had in 2014 indicated that the marginal oil field licences awarded to the indigenous companies in 2003, but were yet to be developed by their owners would be revoked in March 2015.

He said one year after, the DPR was yet to carry out the planned revocation of the licences.

Among other things, Douye said the precarious situation had resulted in huge revenue losses to the Federation Accounts from the lease holders’ royalties, taxes and other financial proceeds accruable from the operations of the marginal oil fields.

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