Experts task government on recovery of unremitted fund by oil firms
The need for the Federal Government to ensure full recovery of Nigeria’s oil and gas unremitted revenue for oil companies has been emphasized.The country’s unremitted has been put at over N7 trillion, which were for divested asset’s legacy liabilities; payments for domestic crude allocation; and dividends from investment paid but withheld by an oil company.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) said that Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) audit reports clearly articulate all the individual companies that have not been remitting funds that suppose to go the Federal Government.He therefore called for more proactive measures from the Federal Government to put up sanction against firms that continue to siphon or short-change the country.
“The arrogance, by which some of these companies are doing it, cannot be tolerated by any country outside Nigeria,” he said.He noted that Nigeria is having the challenge of unremitted fund due to corruption in the country.
According to him, some of the exploration and production companies can go as far bribing government agencies in order not to account for revenue generated.He explained: “The reason the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is not respecting the directive of the Federal Government to remit money through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is because of the various influences some of the public offices are having on the corporation. They have turned NNPC into personal ATM.
“There was a situation about somebody who gave directive to NNPC to keep money somewhere instead of paying it into the CBN. This is not good for the country that claims to be fighting corruption. There is no way a government agency can be perpetrating this financial impunity. We have laws regarding how government institutions should operate and how fund should be remitted into the Federal Government’s coffers.
“Federal Government has been celebrating Single Treasury Account (TSA), but with the attitude of some of these government’s agencies, it is very clear that they don’t even respect that decision”.The President, Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN), Dr. Afe Mayowa, emphasized the need for the government’s agencies to ensure payment to other government enterprises for services rendered.
He stated: “We have to look and see how government establishment are crumbling others. There was a time the Federal Government owed Nigeria’s power utility company billions of naira. The power utility company will always continue to provide services to government’s agencies. These debts are huge. If government-to-government agencies don’t pay their bills, it will cripple the other part of government.”To avoid the occurrences of unremitted fund, he called on the concerned regulatory agencies to ensure there is efficient remittance of fund by the exploration and production companies.
He called on the Federal Government to ensure all funds are paid into a Single Treasury Account.Speaking to The Guardian on the issue, Director, Communications – Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji stated: “I am pleased to state that NEITI welcomes the recent directive to Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on the recovery of outstanding payments from companies.
“If DPR approaches NEITI for support in this important assignment, we will gladly provide information and data supported with crucial facts. For instance, from disclosures by NEITI independent reports, the outstanding recoverable debts includes $16.898 billion Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dividends paid to NNPC which NNPC acknowledged receipt but failed to remit the funds to the Federation Account as required by Law.
“The other recoverable is the sum of $1.050 billion and N68.552 billion representing the outstanding payments for the oil wells divested by the NNPC to NPDC. These are part of the remedial issues, which NEITI reports seek to be addressed to improve government revenues generation and transparency in the sector.”
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