NEITI urges prosecution of persons linked with non-remittance of N7.2trillion oil fund
• Debt, part of conducting businesses globally, says NNPC spokesman
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has urged the Federal Government to prosecute all those found culpable in the non-remittance of about N7.2 trillion to the federation account.
A new policy brief released by NEITI yesterday stated that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) owes the federation account about N7.2trillion over a 14-year period.
Unveiling the report in Abuja yesterday, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio, said there is an urgent need for the Federal Government to set up machineries to recover the unremitted money to fund the economic recovery plan.
However, in a swift reaction to the report, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Ndu Nghamadu, said the corporation would study it, adding that debt is part of conducting oil businesses globally.
Nghamadu explained: “I am just hearing this. But as a corporation, we will study it because the group managing director is part of the NEITI board. We know that debt is part of the business and that is how it functions worldwide. It is what we do with the debt that is most important. Now, there are products all over the country, nobody is asking where the money that funds the importation comes from. We also observe that NEITI report is not complete until NNPC is mentioned.”
The NEITI policy brief showed that the NNPC and its upstream arm, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), failed to remit $21.778 billion and N316.074 billion to the Federation Account.
The breakdown of the unremitted funds disclosed by NEITI reports of the oil and gas industry over the years include outstanding payments of $1.7 billion arising from the transfer of eight OMLs from Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) and the sum of $2.2million from four OMLs from Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to the NPDC respectively.
On the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) dividends, the NEITI policy brief noted with concern that while there is evidence of payment of dividends from NLNG to NNPC, there is no similar evidence to show that NNPC remitted the dividends to the Federation account as required by sections 80(1) and 162(1) of the constitution.
Since the federation’s shareholding in NLNG is held through NNPC, dividends are paid to NNPC, which should remit same to the federation.”
However, the report said that “For the period between 2000 and 2014 NLNG paid a total of $15.8 billion to NNPC, which NNPC acknowledged receiving but failed to remit to the federation account,” the policy brief stated.
NEITI urged the Federal Government to device means to recover the funds to support the on-going economic recovery plans.