The House of Representatives Committee on Finance has vowed that it will take legal action to compel the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to remit a total of N6.3 trillion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Hon. Abdulmuminu Jibrin, said Wednesday during a meeting with officials of the oil corporation that NNPC flouted the law by not remitting revenue due to the government.
The amount is the sum of internally generated revenue that accrued to government through the NNPC between 2009 and last year.
Records indicate that the oil corporation earned N2 trillion in 2009 as its internally generated revenue, N2.1 trillion in 2010, N1.9 trillion in 2011 and N259 billion as at July 2012.
However, the corporation remitted nothing to the Consolidated Revenue Fund contrary to the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
The committee described as unacceptable, the claim of the NNPC that it had been operating at a loss.
"Operating at a loss is not an issue, you generated some money and the law is clear on what belongs to you and to the other; but you chose to ignore it and refused to remit to the Federal Government its dues," Jibrin said.
The committee directed the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) to audit NNPC's records on internally generated revenue from 2009 to 2012 to ascertain the exact amount owed. It has also given the NNPC up till February 25 to report back on the issue.
Earlier, NNPC Group Managing Director, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, who appeared before the House committee along with other officials, explained that the non-remittance of revenue was due to the fact that the corporation had been operating at a loss.
He said the corporation had been operating in a challenging business environment and had not been able to overcome some of the obstacles to profitable business.
According to him, one of the problems is that the NNPC has to buy crude oil at commercial rates but forced to sell products at regulated prices.
"It is difficult to generate profit and that is why we have difficulties in remitting to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Also, the cost of generating that internally generated revenue is more than the revenue because we spend more to produce the products from where we generate the profits as we incur additional cost to produce those products. We lose nothing less than N600 million per week to vandalism, and that is also beyond our control," Yakubu said.
The NNPC boss also blamed part of the problems of the corporation on fuel subsidy, a policy, he said, which did not allow the NNPC to generate profit.
Meanwhile, the House Committee on Public Accounts has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, to prepare to defend the queries raised against his organisation by the AuGF.
Jega, who appeared before the Public Accounts Committee Wednesday over the queries, was however asked to suspend his defence until he has submitted the proper documents to back it up.
The committee had earlier threatened to arrest Jega for his failure to appear before it after five consecutive invitations.
When he finally appeared Wednesday, the committee stepped down all the queries raised against the commission over what it described as improper and poor documentation as well as its inability to produce the fixed asset register of the organisation.
In a brief remark, Jega admitted that the commission had no fixed asset register but pledged that efforts were on to correct the anomalies in the books of the commission. He later held a closed-door meeting with members of the committee.