19 April 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA—NIGERIA’a House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee that investigated the implementation of the subsidy regime in the country, has recommended that the sum of N1,067,040,456,171.31 be refunded to the Federation Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Petroleum Product Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), fuel marketers and companies that refused to appear before the committee.
Out of this amount, the NNPC, which came under heavy criticism from the Committee, is to refund N310,414,963,613.00 for subsidy it collected on kerosene after the subsidy on the product had been outlawed in the country; N285,098,000,000 for subsidy it collected above the PPPRA recommended amount and N108, 648,000,000 for self discount it granted itself.
Fuel marketing companies are to refund a total of N8,664,352,554.00, the committed also recommended.
Companies that failed to appear before the committee are to refund the sum of N41,936,140,005 while the PPPRA is to refund the sum of N312,279,000,000, being excess payment it made to itself.
The refunds are to be made within three months.
The Committee chaired by Hon. Faruk Lawan also recommended that relevant anti-corruption agencies should investigate and prosecute all persons and companies that have been found to have committed any crime while those companies that obtained foreign exchange (forex), but failed to import petroleum products should also be referred to the anti-corruption agencies with a view to verifying what they used the forex for.
And contrary to the official figure of subsidy payment of N1.3 Trillion, the committee noted that ‘the Accountant General of the Federation put a figure of N1.6 Trillion, the CBN N1.7 Trillion, while the committee established subsidy payment of N2.58 Trillion as at 31st December, 2011 amounting to more than 900 per cent over the appropriated sum of N245 Billion’.
It noted that the committee arrived at this figure based on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) figure of N844.944 Billion paid to the NNPC in addition to another figure of N847.942 Billion reflected as withdrawals by the NNPC from the excess Crude Naira account as well as the sum of N894.201 Billion paid as subsidy to the marketers.
The committee which came hard on the NNPC ‘for not being accountable to anybody or authority,’ recommended that the corporation be unbundled to make its operations more efficient and transparent.
It added that ‘the Management and Board of the NNPC should be completely overhauled and all those involved in the following infractions should be further investigated and prosecuted by the relevant anti corruption agencies’.
See who to refund what?
The infractions for which the committee recommended further investigation/prosecution are: Payment of N285.098Billion in excess of the PPPRA recommended figure for 2011; subsidy deductions of N310,414,963,613 for kerosene against a presidential directive; Direct Deductions from funds meant for the federation account in contravention of section 162 of the Nigerian Constitution and the illegal granting of price differential (discounts) of crude oil price per barrel to the NNPC to the tune of N108.648Billion from 2009-2011.
Wants NNPC audited
It further recommended that ‘the House do direct for the auditing of the NNPC to determine its solvency. This is as a result of plethora of claims of indebtedness and demands for payments by NNPC’s debtors which, if not well handled, will not only affect the entire economy of Nigeria but also the supply and distribution of petroleum products’.
On the part of the PPPRA, the committee recommended that ‘the Executive Secretaries of the PPPRA who were the Accounting Officers, and under whose watch abuses were perpetrated that led to government losing Billions of Naira should be held liable.
“We strongly recommend that those who served as Executive Secretaries of PPPRA from January 2009 to October 2010 should be further investigated/prosecuted by relevant Anti-corruption agencies. This should also include the GM Field Services, ACDO/Supervisor Ullage Team 1 and ACDO/Supervisor Ullage Team 2 within the same period for their roles in the management of the ullaging under the subsidy scheme,” the committee said.
Part of the committee report reads: “Our investigation further revealed that certain marketers collected subsidy of over N230.184 Billion on PMS volume of 3,262,960,225 litres that from the records made available to us were not supplied.
“Apart from proliferation and non-designation of bank accounts for subsidy payment, PPPRA and the OAGF were unable to manage in a transparent manner the two accounts they chose to disclose.
“There were indications that PPPRA paid N258billion to itself in 2009 and N157Billion in 2010.
“When confronted, the OAGF was unable to submit details of the bulk payments arrogated to PPPRA and the account from which the bulk sums were disbursed to the supposed beneficiaries.
“Curiously too, the particular Accountant General that served during the period 2009 was found to have made a payment of equal installments of N999 Million for a record 128 times within 24 hours on the 12th and 13th of January 2009, totalling N127.872Billion.
“The confirmed payments from the CBN records were made to beneficiaries yet to be disclosed by the OAGF or identified by the committee.
“We however discovered that only 36 marketers were participants under the PSF scheme during this period. Even if there were 128 marketers, it was inconceivable that all would have imported the same quantity of products to warrant equal payment.”
On the quantity of fuel that is consumed nationwide daily, the committee in its report noted that from its findings, ‘the consumption level for 2011 is estimated at 31.5 million litres per day. However, in 2012, marginal increment of 1.5 million litres a day is recommended in order to take care of unforeseen circumstances, bringing it to 33 million litres per day.
“And to maintain a strategic reserve, an additional average of seven million litres per day (or 630 Million litres per quarter) for the first quarter of 2012 only is recommended. Thus PPPRA is to use 40million litres of PMS in the first quarter as its maximum ordering quantity per day. In subsequent quarters, PMS daily ordering quantity should be33 million litres per day. For Kerosene, the committee recommends a daily ordering quantity of 9 million litres” the report noted.
It therefore proposed a budget of N806.766 Billion for the 2012 fiscal year for payment of subsidy on PMS and Kerosene based on its projection that the PMS consumption is 40million litres per day (including the strategic reserve for the first quarter of 2012); and 9million litres of Kerosene per day.
Other recommendations by the committee:
*Marketers without storage facilities and retail outlets should be excluded from participating in the PSF scheme.
*The services of the Accounting Firm of Akintola Williams, Deloitte and Olusola Adekanola and Partners should be discontinued with immediate effect for professional incompetence and should be blacklisted from being engaged by any Federal Ministry, Department or Agency for a period of three years.
*All those in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Office of the Director General Budget and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation involved in the Extra budgetary expenditure under the PSF scheme (2009-2011) should be sanctioned in accordance with civil service rules and the code of conduct Bureau.
*The overhauling of the PPMC management.
*Mr. president should reorganise the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to make it more effective in carrying out the much needed reforms in the oil and gas sector.
*Given the large and complex nature of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the committee recommends that two ministers should be appointed to take charge of the Upstream and Downstream.
*The PPPRA should provide the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA advance copies of allocation and vessel arrival notification documents to enable the navy monitor, track and interdict vessels seeking to avoid Naval certification.
*The committee recommends that the regulatory capacity of PPPRA be strengthened and the National Assembly should commence the process of amending the Act to make the Agency autonomous
*The committee recommends that FIRS should follow up on the companies listed earlier to pay their taxes with due penalties in line with the provisions of the Companies Income Tax Act.
*The PSF guidleines should be revised to make Tax compliance a mandatory pre-qualification requirement for all participants under the scheme.
*The CBN and the Federal Ministry of Finance should critically examine and review policy guiding payment for importation of petroleum products to avoid the current fraudulent system that allows importers to bring in products from off-shore ‘lome’ or cotonou to qualify for forex payments.
*The committee recommends that the PPMC management be overhauled.