Senate Hearing: Okonjo-Iweala Recommends Independent Audit On NNPC Missing Funds

The Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has told members of the Senate Committee on Finance to go a step further by inviting independent auditors to look at the books of the Ministry of Finance as regards remittances made by the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission, NNPC.

This is in view of the lingering controversies surrounding the alleged 10.8 billion dollars missing NNPC funds.

The Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was speaking at the investigative hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance, into the alleged missing $20 billion oil money.

In her testimony, she said, “The budget under the control of the Ministry of Finance is laid out transparently online and has been accessible to all Nigerians and they have been criticizing it. Even though it’s difficult for us, we are proud of it because it means they have information to criticize us with.

“Under those circumstances people say the finances of the country are in a mess, we do not think that is the case on that particular point.

“What is being said here is being made to look like in this country, there has been no accountability, and that is not the case. For two steady years, Federal Allocation after Federal Allocation Committee meeting, the Ministry of Finance chairs a process that reconciles these accounts, and every single Commissioner of Finance in this country has a folder that shows exactly what we’ve done. So the Ministry of Finance is doing its job.

“It is because of that reconciliation that we came to the amount of 10.8billion that everybody is now talking about. When the Central Bank mentioned 49.8billion, we were the first to say we did not think this amount is correct and you can ask the CBN Governor, he is right here.

“After we had done that work, it was proven that 49.8billion is not the right amount and he had the courage to accept that. Without the steady work we have done to account for the resources of this country, we will not be talking about 10.8billion.”

Referring to an earlier comment by a member of the committee, she said, “We have said we want an independent audit in addition; it is precisely because of what the distinguished Senator is saying that we want this independent audit these extraordinary times. A lot of accusations are being made in this country and the only way Nigerians are going to be satisfied is to have an independent opinion on these amounts.”

Senate Hearing: No 10.87billion Dollars Is Seated In NNPC – Group GMD

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu

The Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala have been giving testimonies at the investigative hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance, into the alleged missing $20 billion oil money.

Mr Sanusi told the hearing that regardless of the explanations from the Finance Minister, as far as the CBN was concerned, there is an outstanding $20 billion between what NNPC shipped and what it paid to Government.

Mr Sanusi insisted that the outstanding 6 billion Dollars given to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) should have gone to the Federal Government and that the CBN received 3 legal opinions on that matter while offering to bring lawyers to defend that claim.

The Finance Minister, Okonjo Iweala, however said that the NNPC supplied documents from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulation Agency, PPPRA, showing how the initial outstanding 10.8 billion dollars was spent.

The Group GMD of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, who was also at the hearing, however, stuck to his gun, insisting that the state oil company was not in custody of the amount as claimed by the CBN Governor.

“You will recall that we started from 49.8 billion dollars, and after the interagency reconciliation in December, we came down to 10.87, and this was classified as non-remitted funds. The impression all over the place is that 10.87billion dollars is seated in the four towers of NNPC and my staff and myself have been portrayed in very bad light.

“For emphasis I want to tell all Nigerians, that no 10.87billion dollars is seated in NNPC or anywhere within our control.

“The 10.87billion dollars after a series of discussions and presentation of documents and reconciliation meetings was traced to the four major items today. Those items are the subsidy that we have discussed extensively, and that is the reality.”

Having itemized other issues like legalities, budgetary provisions, as among issues realized during reconciliation, he further spoke about the kerosine subsidy.

“The reality today, that I found when I stepped in on the 26th of June 2012, is that subsidy of kerosine was still there and it is still there as we speak. So, the total amount based on our reconciled figure is 8.76billion dollars.

“We also did a detailed material balance of crude oil and product inventories and arrived at 0.76billion for the losses we encountered as a result of the harsh business environment.”

 

NNPC Boss Links Security Challenges To Unemployment

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Andrew Yakubu, has linked the security challenges and other sectarian crises in the country to the high rate of unemployment and poverty amongst the youth. 

The NNPC boss gave the hint at the graduation ceremony of the fifth set of the Kaduna Refinery Youth Empowerment and Skill Acquisition Programme held in Kaduna, North West Nigeria.

He said that the programme initiated by the management of Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KPRC) was an indication of NNPC’s corporate social responsibility towards its host communities.

Mr Yakubu, who was represented at the occasion by the Acting Group Executive Director Refining and Petrochemical  Services, Mr Paul Obele, said the entrepreneurial skills programme provides an opportunity for the youth to be self-reliant since government cannot provide job to all the youth in the country.

According to  the Acting Managing Director KRPC, Dr Bafred Enjugu in his  welcome address,  the youth  especially graduates of tertiary institutions must  find alternative means of providing means of livelihood for themselves rather than waiting for white collar jobs that are not sufficient.

The programme by the management of KPRC to empower youth of its host community was initiated in 2008 with 100 participants and has continued running successfully in the last four years.

With the graduation of another batch of beneficiaries, the expectation is that these youth will make good use of this opportunity and engage themselves in meaningful ventures that will see them become self-reliant in future, rather than becoming a security threat to their community and the state in general.

NNPC Dismisses Accusation Of Under-Hand Dealings By Swiss-Based Organization

The Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC has denounced  the recent report by Swiss -based NGO (The Berne Declaration) which accused the Corporation of collusion with some local and international oil traders to execute unfair industry practices.

In a chat with Journalists in Abuja, the Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Corporation, Tumini Green, stated that the publication is not only bogus but strewn with inaccurate and poorly researched data, which defies common sense and verifiable evidence on ground in Nigeria.

“For instance, how can anybody who claims to be a close observer of the Nigeria oil and gas industry say that the process leading to the award of Term Contract for lifting of Nigeria’s crude is shrouded in mystery, when it is common knowledge that the call for tender for this contract is periodically published by almost all the newspapers in Nigeria via paid advert placements by the NNPC,” Green quipped.

The NNPC Spokesperson explained that in practice, the Corporation sells Nigerian Government equity crude oil to Lifters/Traders engaged on Annual Term Contract basis. She stated that at present there are about 50 such term contracts.

“No company has a monopoly or exclusive right to lift any quantity of Nigerian crude oil. The process of selection of Traders/lifters is competitive and transparent. Traders lift crude oil according to the terms of Contractual agreements applicable to all traders, among others on (Free on Board) FOB basis and proceeds paid directly into designated Central Bank of Nigeria Crude oil sales accounts,’’ She said.

On the allegation that Nigeria’s crude is sold to some companies at special discounted rate, Green countered

“Nigeria Crude Oil is sold at published Official Selling Price (OSP) which is not only bench-marked against the internationally recognized pricing institution, Platts daily publications, but also fixed after a critical analysis of market fundamentals and price determinants at global level. OSP differentials are crude stream determined and cannot favour an individual or group of traders as being insinuated,’’ the NNPC explained.

Green thanked the Nigerian media for their sustained show of support for the growth of the oil and gas industry while appealing to them to always resist the temptation of endorsing foreign media reports about the industry as gospel truth.

Senate Orders NNPC To Provide Details Of Petroleum Distribution In Two Weeks

 The Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) has issued a two-week ultimatum to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to provide it with details of petroleum products distribution.

The committee also directed the NNPC Group Managing Director, Andrew Yakubu, to supply it with details of excess crude swap and the number of aircrafts in NNPC’s fleet.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Magnus Abe, issued the ultimatum on Thursday in Abuja following the failure of the Managing Director, Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Ltd, Mr Paul Obelle, to appear before it.

Obelle failed to honour an invitation to appear before the committee to explain the circumstances surrounding the fire that engulfed the petroleum plant on October 22.

Abe decried the attitude of government officials who allegedly showed disdain to lawmakers by failing to honour invitations to provide details of the operations of public organisations.

He, however, noted that the information required was important, saying that the NNPC needed more time to collate the documents for the convenience of the committee.

“There are also issues to do with the implementation of the NNPC budget. We have also written to them to furnish us with all the details of the budget implementation as the year progresses.

“I would like to seize this opportunity to ask them and very seriously, call on NNPC and indeed, call on all government agencies that cooperating with the legislature is important for the stability of our democracy.

“So, I will plead with NNPC, to very quickly, within the next one week, assemble all the documents that we have asked for.

“This is more so particularly documents relating to the distribution of petroleum products and the crude-swap arrangement.

“So, we will give them time to collate their documents and also within two weeks, they should collate their documents within and outside Nigeria.

Return And Invest, FG Tells Nigerians In US

Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga has assured members of the international business community willing to do business in Nigeria of a friendly business environment laced with strong return on investment.

Speaking at a forum in New York, Aganga told a group of business men and women that government  has put in place the right polices that will support growth.

Also, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is calling on more investors to participate in the Ogidigben Industrial Park project in Delta State.

The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, who made this call during a panel discussion on power at the Nigeria Investment Summit in New York, said the gas-based industrial park offers investment opportunities in petrochemical, fertilizer, methanol and other non-oil sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Yakubu, who was represented by the Group Executive Director, Gas and Power, Dr. David Ige, said in a statement on Wednesday that the project was the choice destination for quick return on investment.

The statement was signed by the Acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ms. Tumini Green.

The Federal Government and the private sector are expected to invest $15bn (N2.39tn) in the 2,700-hectare gas-based industrial park. The contractors were expected to have moved to the project site since June.

The NNPC had during the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, United State in May, 2013, said the clearing and preparatory activities would begin at the Ogidigben site in June.

Ige, who spoke for the corporation, had said, “Though this project is late relative to our timing, we are making progress. Our plan is that in the next one month or two, we are going to move to site for site clearing and construction will begin.

“The Ogidigben Industrial Park will have a fertilizer plant, a petrochemical plant, a central processing facility and a power plant of 350-megawatt capacity. There will be big commercial and residential areas. It is going to be the biggest gas-based industrial park in Africa.”

FG Restates Commitment To Improving Infrastructure

The Federal Government has restated its commitment to the provision of critical infrastructure in all areas of the economy, in order to fast track the development of the nation.

Addressing participants at a gathering on the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure, Vice President Namadi Sambo called on security agencies to work together in protecting the nation’s assets.

He stressed the need for a quicker resolution of court cases involving economic saboteurs and stiffer penalties for offenders.

Vice President Sambo who declared the forum open advised security agencies to step up their game in protecting the nation’s assets.

The Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu decried the vandalisation of national assets by criminally minded persons.

Although terrorism and vandalism are two major issues confronting the nation, the National Security Adviser, Col Mohammed Dasuki and the Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr. Ade Abolurin pledged their commitment to combat the menace.

The two day event will among other issues examine strategies for the protection of Nigeria’s critical national assets and infrastructure including the role of the NSCDC in the protection of such assets.

Non-Remittance Of N6 Trillion: NNPC GMD Shuns Reps

The Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu has shunned the invitation of the House of Representatives.

The house committee on finance had invited the NNPC GMD and the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) to appear before the committee unfailingly on Tuesday 19 March to come and explain why the NNPC did not remit N6 trillion it generated between 2009 and 2012 into the consolidated revenue fund.

The house committee on finance led by Abdulmumin Jibril said the actions of the NNPC boss is a gross violation of the fiscal responsibility act of 2007.

It would be recalled that Mr Yakubu was summoned by the House for not remitting the revenue generated by the NNPC into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federation.

Mr Jibrin vowed that this would be the last time the committee will invite the NNPC boss over the issue of non-remittance of fund, as the House will be compelled to issue arrest warrant against the NNPC boss if he fails to honour the invitation.

According to report, the NNPC since 2009 has not remitted any amount under her Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) into the consolidated revenue fund till last year 2012.

“We have said it before that NNPC has never remitted anything under her IGR to the CRF in 2009 and the corporation generated N2.048 trillion as its internally generated revenue. It made N2.155 trillion in 2010. While N1.9 trillion was realised in 2011, by July of 2012, the corporation made N259b as its IGR.  Between 2009 and 2012, the corporation remitted nothing out of the N6 trillion they generated to the CRF as demanded by law,” Mr Jibrin said.

At the resumed investigative hearing on Tuesday, the committee however commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the NTA for exemplary commitment to its statutory remittance.

The governor of the CBN, Sanusi Lamido said the bank has remitted N217 billion in the last four years.

NNPC Not Seeking $1.5Bn Loan, Petroleum Minister Debunks Reports

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke on Monday denied reports that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) planned to take a loan of $1.5 billion.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezini Allison-Madueke

The Minister made the denial when she appeared before the House Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream), Aids, Loans and Debt Management and Justice of the House of Representatives probing the proposed loan.

Mrs Allison-Madueke and the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Andrew Yakubu in separate statements before the House Joint Committee claimed that the money in question was not a loan but a forward sales agreement between the Corporation and its trading partners in lieu of the Corporation’s indebtedness to them.

Some of the lawmakers present, however, did not accept the position put forward by the minister, insisting that the explanation given by the executive showed that it was indeed a loan.

The Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal said the proposed loan was not reflected in the 2013 budget that was presented to the National Assembly and that it was omitted from the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.

Mr. Tambuwal made the statement while declaring open the public hearing on the said loan by the House Joint Committee.

He added: “The public hearing was in line with the resolve of the Seventh House to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians and also ensure the entrenchment of a policy that the citizenry could be proud of.”

While encouraging the Joint Investigative Committee to do a thorough work on the matter, the Speaker, who was represented by the Chief Whip of the House, Ishiaka Bawa, expressed optimism that the findings and recommendations of the panel would influence the direction and decisions of the House.

 

Senate Committee summons Petroleum Minister over fuel scarcity

The Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) on Friday invited the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke and the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Andrew Yakubu, to a meeting on Tuesday to explain the reasons for fuel scarcity experienced in several cities across Nigeria.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezini Alison-Madueke

The committee also invited the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Reginald Stanley along with other stakeholders in the petroleum downstream sector.

The Chairman of the committee, Magnus Abe, who personally signed the invitation letter, said the long queues of vehicles at filling stations noticed this week in Abuja and some cities in the country especially in Lagos “is unacceptable”.

He said “We thought that the era of Nigerians queuing at filling stations for indeterminate hours to procure PMS and other petroleum products, was indeed gone forever. It is, indeed, an embarrassment that precious man-hours are wasted in the quest to fulfil a basic need.

“What was initially perceived as a glitch in the distribution chain has now ballooned into queues in what now seems to be a gradual return to that inglorious era.

“The Senate Petroleum Resources Committee intends to engage those in charge with a view to ascertain and chart workable solutions to the challenges in the downstream sector.

“To this end, we will meet with the Petroleum Resources Minister, the NNPC GMD, PPPRA and other relevant stakeholders next week.”

Prospects of crude oil exploration in Northern Nigeria gladdens Sambo

Vice President Namadi Sambo on Friday expressed the appreciation of the Federal Government to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the positive progress they are making in the exploration of hydro carbon at the Chad Basin.

From left: The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Goni Sheikh; The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, and Vice President Namadi Sambo, at a meeting on Lake Chad Basin hydrocarbon exploration in Abuja on Friday

Speaking at a meeting convened with experts within the NNPC and other public sectors at the State House, Abuja, Mr Sambo said he was happy that surveys have indicated the presence of oil in the Chad Basin.

He noted that the budget provision is based on activity assessment and that the efforts so far expended and the achievements recorded so far will lead to the realization of the targeted goal.

He directed that a meeting with Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), a conglomerate that is presently working with the NNPC on the project, should be convened as a step to engaging willing and ready investors that will facilitate speedy and timely exploration in the second phase of the exercise.

The vice president further directed that the recommendation in the aero magnetic data survey needs to the harnessed including other works and services required so that a target time can be arrived at.

He noted on the need for deployment of funds, and the need to source for and engage other capable hands who are willing and ready investors.

Mr Sambo reaffirmed the Federal Government resolved to explore oil on the Lake Chad Basin contrary to the allusion in some quarters that government is not serious in doing so.

In his briefing the Group Managing of NNPC, Andy Yakubu, said despite the insinuations making the rounds that the corporation is not doing much on the exploration of the hydro carbon on the Lake Chad, NNPC was doing a lot to realize the objective of the Federal Government.

He said an integrated team of consortium of consultants set up by the Federal Government to study the possibility of exploring oil has identified 3350Sqm which was recommended for further investigation.

He added that on the submission of the report of the investigation NNPC commissioned its subsidiary and consultants to start the exploration. These consultants include the Chinese companies that worked in similar ventures on Niger and Chad Republics.

Mr Yakubu noted that due to the high technology employed for the exploration the area was divided into four phases and that work is currently on-going on the fifth phase.

He further added that three major sub-basins in the Lake Chad area namely Biu, Maiduguri and Barga had been identified and marked as low risk while work is currently going on in that area.

He pointed out that lack of security and adequate funding are the major challenges being faced in the speedy execution of the project.

If oil is found in the Chad basin, some northern states including Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe and by extension Adamawa States may be listed as crude oil producing state, a status that may improve the living condition of residents of these states.