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Reps Launch A Comprehensive Investigation Into The Earnings Of NNPC From January 2018 To Date

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The House of Representatives has launched a comprehensive investigation into the earnings of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from January 2018 to date.

The lawmakers said that the ambiguities surrounding the corporation’s activities made it imperative to ascertain the volume of production of oil within the period under review.

In addition, to ascertain the country’s earnings for that period, an ad hoc panel will also find out the status of cash calls involving joint venture operations including the template used in arriving at the sharing formula.

Also, the House will be looking at the exchange rate during the period due to the fact that NNPC sells its crude in dollars but remits to the Consolidated Revenue Account (CFA) in naira.

The decision of the lawmakers followed the adoption of a matter of urgent national importance by Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta), who said the failure of NNPC to remit about N100b into the CFA threw States and Local Governments that depended on the montjly allocation into a financial challenge that affected the payment of their June salaries.

He said the development was frustrating as it was not the first time such under – remittances would be made by NNPC.

“Such under-remittance at a time when oil price is high and stable calls for an investigation because if not addressed, NNPC would just inform the nation one day that it has nothing to remit to the CRA from its crude oil sales.

“One organizations cannot be allowed to make a black spot on Nigeria”, he added.

Dennis Amadi (PDP, Enugu) regretted that the country’s commonwealth is being mismanaged by NNPC, lending credence to allegations in the past on how the organization is being managed.

According to him, the corporation’s head was being alleged to have disbursed $5b for oil prospecting, constructing highways in other countries as a well as payment of oil subsidies without due process.

“NNPC seems to be higher than everyone but there’s a need to pressure it into doing what is right”, he said.

Aminu Shagari (APC, Sokoto) was however wary of the outcome of the proposed investigation saying previous investigative reports on the same subject have not seen the light of the day.

“What happened to reports of committees set up on same subject in previous Assemblies?

“This ad hoc Committee might not have the nerve to say what is actually happening. I will rather advise the Committee members to watch closely because NNPC will pick members one after the other and you see member speaking from both sides of their mouths”.

Uzoma Nkem-Abonta(PDP, Enugu) explained that previous investigative reports on NNPC that were not implemented was due to legislative procedural errors.

“Why we dont see the result of past investigations is because we don’t we debate most of such reports immediately they were laid which mean that the recommendations are not in public domain.

“Notwithstanding, the House must still carry out its duty because oil is the country’s major revenue generator. The major source of our revenue should not be allowed to decline”.

Abdulmumin Jibrin (APC, Kano), who said the issue of under remittance by NNPC is a national security issue, stressed the need for the investigation to be comprehensive.

According to him, in order for the committee not to be embarrassed by running round in circles, a holistic approach to the issue whereby the period under review would be stretched back to January 2018 from the two months of May and June initially proposed by the mover of the motion.

He also said in order to be objective, the Committee must look at other indices such as level of production, cash calls, template used for the cash calls, exchange rates used by NNPC for its sales and remittances during the period.

The motion was unanimously adopted and the ad hoc Committee to be chaired by the Deputy Minority Leader Chukwuka Onyema was given two weeks to carry out the investigation.

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By Oke Mba 10/07/2018 13:08:00