DPR indicts CBN, NPDC in alleged N6tr revenue leakages
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has indicted the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for determining the rate at which royalties paid in dollars are converted to naira before remitting into the Federation Account.
It said the situation had led to loss of N6 trillion in one year. At the hearing of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating revenue leakages in the oil and gas sector from January 2016 to January 2017, the DPR said revenue remittances were weak and inconsistent within the period and sought for clarification on the disparities observed in the receipts of remittances submitted by International Oil Companies (IOCs) as issued by the department.
Speaking through its Head of Planning, Mrs. Folasade Odunuga, at the hearing yesterday chaired by Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe (PDP, Cross River), the Department also accused the National Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) of refusing to pay royalties on its crude production activities, adding that the “NPDC remains the worst debtor in the oil and gas industry.”
Odunuga urged the panel to find out from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) why the NPDC, the corporation’s subsidiary, has failed to comply with remittance processes.
According to some of the receipts made available to the panel, the remitted amount (in naira) into the Federation Account fell short of its dollar value using current exchange rates, causing the lawmakers to ask questions as to why that could have happened under the supervision of the DPR.
It was observed that the CBN has been converting dollar remittances using about N167 to $1 instead of the current N305 to $1.Odunuga told the committee that “royalties on crude oil are paid strictly in dollars directly into the Federation Account in JP Morgan, managed by the CBN.”
She said there were other royalties that come in both naira and dollars, adding that payment invoice is based on what currency it was paid in.The committee members probed further on the invoices showing DPR converting dollars into naira before remitting to government accounts, but the DPR officials denied, saying that such was never done as the Department does not handle cash directly.
Asked why they do not doubt whatever the CBN gives to them, and if it has never occurred to the DPR that the Federal Government was being shortchanged by what the CBN allegedly disclosed as paid in naira component, the DPR Director, Mordecai Baba Ladan, said: “We’ve had a good working relationship with the CBN over the years and we’ve not had any iota of doubt that what the CBN gave to us was inaccurate. So to say that we go and do independent investigation as to the facts given to us by the CBN has never crossed our minds.”
On why the regulator has not been able to liquidate over $158 million owed by OICs from 2000 to 2015, Odunuga said OICs had been adamant as to the amount they should remit.
She said that while the OICs have insisted that what they owe is less than what DPR has evaluated, the worst debtor in the industry is the NPDC which is the exploration arm of the NNPC, urging the panel to ask the Corporation why its subsidiary has refused to pay royalties to government.
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