- $30bn oil revenue remitted to Federation Account but Nigerians disagree and are not buying the story
Lagos – The state-owned oil company, The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said the disputed $10.8 billion, which has not been paid into the national treasury – Federation Account, is not missing but formed part of its operational costs within the period January 2012 to July 2013 referred to by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, in his letter to Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan on unremitted oil revenues.
It explained that repairs on Nigeria’s 5,000 kilometres of petroleum pipeline network which is constantly subjected to vandalism, unpaid subsidies on kerosene and petrol, as well as its maintenance of national strategic reserves for petroleum products, were all parts of its operational costs accounted for by the $10.8 billion
The corporation said in a statement yesterday in Abuja that issues surrounding the allegation of the unremitted $49.8 billion against it had since been explained but it appears that the initial dust raised by Sanusi’s letter was yet to settle.
The General Manager, Media Relations, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, in the statement, said it had to make further clarifications considering the media reports on the same issue, which it said were misleading.
“We are therefore constrained to respond and clarify the issues once again to help those who do not yet understand the clarification made earlier by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, at a joint press conference which was widely reported in the media.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there was no where it was stated or admitted by any of the parties in the course of the press conference or anywhere else that the sum of $12 billion or $10.8 billion out of the alleged unremitted $49.8 billion was missing.”
“The truth of the matter is that as at the time of the press conference, $30 billion of the alleged unremitted oil revenue had been reconciled by all the parties involved. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala did explain that the reconciliation was an ongoing process and that the balance of $10.8 billion was still being reconciled,” Ibrahim said.
He added: “At no time did anybody, be it the Coordinating Minister for the Economy or the CBN governor say that the outstanding $10.8 billion was missing. It is simply curious how some sections of the media are not prepared to see the difference between the two positions – reconciliation in progress versus money missing.
“These two positions are simply not the same thing no matter the angle from which anyone chooses to see them.”
Giving a breakdown of NNPC’s operational expenses which make up the $10.8 billion, Ibrahim said: “Having made that point, it is also pertinent to further clarify that NNPC as a national oil company is saddled with certain onerous responsibilities that other oil companies are free from.
Meanwhile, analysts and most Nigerians are of the view that the clarification is bizarre and all explanations about unpaid operational costs are to say the least a charade. ‘’It beats the imagination of a sane person for the NNPC to expend this huge sum of money ‘’so-called operational costs’’ without the knowledge of its partner agencies of government (Central Bank of Nigeria and Finance Ministry)? a political analyst told us in Lagos.
Most Nigerians interviewed said the so-called kerosene subsidy is a monumental fraud from which thay all benefit from and it gives credence to why they will go to the extent of making payments without the knowledge of CBN and the Finance ministry. A market woman sums it up by saying, ‘’Nigeria is now a bonanza…..where looting and profligacy is unprecedented in the nation’s history’’.
Attempts by the NNPC to clarify the issue of the alleged missing oil revenue is not resonating among Nigerians and the public is not buying the story of unpaid operational costs.