12 June 2018

Nigeria: Govt in Talks With IOCs Over $21 Billion Losses, Says NNPC

Abuja — The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said the state owned company is currently in talk with International Oil Companies (IOCs) with the aim of reviewing the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) signed about 25 years ago between the two parties.

Nigeria has allegedly lost over $21 billion since terms of the contract, which was signed in 1993 became outdated.

The PSC, a form of joint agreement for exploration, development and production of oil resources, makes extractive companies bear the cost of production, unlike the joint venture agreement where government is indebted with cash call.

Speaking with The Guardian, NNPC Group General Manager Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, said the corporation is currently discussing with the oil majors and other parties involved in the PSC.

"We are discussing with the IOCs, other groups on the PSC, including some indigenous participants in the scheme.

However, we are not aware of the purported amount being lost," Ughanmadu said.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, had said Nigeria had recorded losses of $21 billion to oil majors due to the obsolete nature of the contract.

Speaking on the need for urgent reforms in the sector, especially in the area of the PSC arrangement, Managing Partner, Chancery Associates, Emeka Okwuosa, said it remained sad and regrettable that the federal government did not proactively engaging the lOCs in respect of the production sharing agreement.

To him, most of the production sharing agreements is old and due for review, considering that they are skewed in favour of the multinational companies.

He said unless urgent actions were taken to correct the prevailing situation, the federal government would continue to be short-changed in respect.

"I challenge the government to reposition themselves by reviewing the agreement's with a view to making more money from lOC,s which will be used for infrastructural development of Nigeria and to provide succour to the teeming masses.

Equity and justice demands and dictates that this agreement's are reviewed to bring the right balance in terms of revenue accrual to the coffers of the federal government.

The federal government by seemingly maintaining a nonchalant and docile attitude is doing a great disservice to the Nigerian people.

He insisted that situation of the things in the sector was no longer business as usual, stressing that the federal government has a sacred duty to revisit the production sharing agreements which are not sacrosanct in any way.

The Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Ibrahim said government's inability to carry out the desired reform agenda in the oil sector despite huge losses would continue to strap economic progress to foreign companies.

Musa, an advocate of transparency and accountability in the extractive industry believes that the country has not given priority to interventions that would block leakages in the sector.

"The government knows that this is the most important aspects of our economy but no effort to sanitize and ensure that Nigeria earns better income.

It appears that the government did not have patriotic, sincere, competent team and reformist elements to carry out this reform."

Ibrahim civil society groups in the sector had submitted memos to the government suggesting some positive best practice reform agenda on in the sector did not receive any acknowledgement.

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