24 June 2015

Nigeria: Missing U.S.$20 Billion - Again, NNPC Fails to Refund U.S.$1.48 Billion

For the umpteenth time, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on Tuesday failed to refund to the Federation Account $1.48 billion balance of an alleged missing $20 billion oil money.

An audit ordered by the Goodluck Jonathan administration recommended that $1.48 billion be paid by NNPC to the government.

The review followed an allegation by a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, who accused the NNPC of failing to account for $20 billion oil money.

Since the submission of the audit report February, Nigeria's 36 state governments have been clamouring for the money to be quickly paid by the NNPC and shared between the federal and state governments.

But the oil company has failed to pay the comply during past revenue sharing meetings between the states and the federal government.

On Tuesday, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Anastasia Daniel-Nwokobia, said at the end of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting for May, that no explanation was given by the corporation for its inability to remit the money as recommended.

"The issue of the refund of the $1.48 bn recommended in the forensic audit report was not discussed, and so no refund was made, apart from the N6.33 bn refunded as part of the N450 bn oil revenue it owed the Federal Government since 2011," Mrs. Daniel-Nwokobia said.

At the end of the meeting, the Permanent Secretary said gross revenue receipt for the month was about N324.06 bn, which was higher than the N282.062 bn received in May by about N41.999 bn. Total distributable revenues between the Federal and the 36 state governments put about N409.5 bn.

Details of the allocation released at the end of the meeting showed that mineral revenue was N225.167 bn, while non-mineral revenue was N98.89 bn.

Net statutory allocation, she said, stood at N317.236 bn, which included N2.403 bn as 4% cost of collection by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), N2.88 bn as 7% cost of collection for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and N1.54 bn as 4% cost of collection by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

The Federal Government received about N151.805 bn, while the states received N76.98 bn and Local Governments N59.36 bn. The nine oil mineral producing states were allocated N29.7 bn.

There was also exchange gain of N31.24 bn proposed for distribution, while value added tax realised for the month was N418.452 bn.

According to the Permanent Secretary, delays in the issuance of the third quarter 2015 Export Permit lead to a drop of about 160,000 barrels of oil per day in April, apart from several shutdowns and shut-ins of the trunk and pipelines at oil terminals, which continued to negatively impact crude oil revenue.

However, she said an increase in the average price of crude oil from $56.04 per barrel in March 2015 to $59.88 per barrel in April brought $19.7 mn revenue gain for the month, while non-oil revenues are expected to perform better in the later art of the year due to some mechanisms put in place by the FIRS.

On the balance of the excess crude account (ECA), she said the amount stood at $2.078 bn.

On why the FAAC was shifted from the earlier schedule of June 15 and 16, Mrs. Daniel-Nwokobia said since the governments at all levels have in the country have been in transition after the May 29 handover to a new administration, there was need to wait.

"Most of the states are yet to appoint their commissioners and reconstitute their executive councils. The FAAC secretariat had to liaise with the states to know who would be representing them at the meeting

Again a few days to the FAAC meeting, the Accountant General of the Federation retired on June 12, necessitating clearance to be sought on who should take the office, in view of the critical role it has to play in the meeting," she said.

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