DPR in­dicts CBN, NPDC in al­leged N6tr rev­enue leak­ages

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - FRONT PAGE - From Otei Oham, Abuja

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 De­part- ment 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.

Di­rec­tor of In­dus­try and Ser­vices, Bureau of Pub­lic En­ter­prises (BPE), Chigbo Anichebe ( left); Ondo State Gov­er­nor Oluwaro­timi Ak­eredolu and Di­rec­tor-gen­eral of BPE, Alex Okoh, dur­ing a meet­ing at the Gov­ern­ment House, Akure…yes­ter­day.

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