It has emerged that revenue agencies do not bother to investigate and confirm claims on crude oil production and sale by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ((NNPC).
At the resumed hearing of the ad-hoc committee investigating the $17 billion undeclared oil and gas proceeds between 2011 to 2014, which is chaired by Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, the committee was baffled by revelations that none of the agencies including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) deemed it necessary to verify NNPC’s revenue remittances against actual crude oil lifting and sale.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr.. Godwin Emefiele, told the committee that the apex bank only warehouses oil proceeds in its crude oil account with J. P Morgan Chase in New York and do not monitor revenue agencies to determine what ought to be paid and what was actually remitted.
He also said the apex bank currently operates only one crude oil account for the NNPC.
Represented by CBN acting Director, Mr. Jack Ukitetu, the governor said the CBN was not in a position to explain crude oil sales, adding that relevant agencies should be in a better position to know the procedures and what ought to be remitted to government coffers.
His response stemmed from a question put to him by the committee on whether the bank was involved in any form of reconciliation with revenue agencies to ensure that what ought to come to the federation account is what is actually paid.
The committee also needed to establish the role of the bank in managing the oil accounts in terms of disbursement authorisation.
However, Emefiele further clarified that the CBN do not authorise disbursements from the federation accounts and currently don’t charge any commission on revenue items or any government deposit within its vault.
Noting that the apex bank is required to honour payment mandates whenever issued by the corporation or other agencies, he said it was not in a position to ask the NNPC for actual oil quantity in relation to remittances into the oil account.
But NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Bello Rabiu, contrary to the apex bank’s submission, said there are monthly reconciliatory meetings among the agencies of government including the CBN, particularly at the level of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).
He said NNPC had often informed the FIRS of projected revenue earnings from crude oil sales for the purpose of taxation.
Namdas, therefore, requested that copies of such correspondence be made available at the next hearing.