‎Senate demands kerosene, petrol subsidy details from PPPRA

Kerosene queue at an NNPC filling station*There are no missing funds, NNPC insists

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

15 March 2014, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Senate Committee on Finance has given the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, two weeks to submit certification details of subsidy for kerosene and petrol from July 2013 to December 2013.

The committee is investigating the alleged non-remittance of 20 billion dollars to the Federation Account by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

The PPPRA management had earlier requested for three weeks to enable it collate all details on the certification of subsidy for kerosene and petrol for six months.

The committee, however, turned down the request and granted the agency only two weeks to furnish it with the necessary documents to enhance its probe into the allegations.

The Chairman of the committee, Ahmed Makarfi, said the committee was also expecting the report of the independent consultants appointed to conduct forensic examination and audit of expenses incurred by NNPC.

Mr. Makarfi said that the Auditor-General of the Federation had written to the committee confirming he had commenced forensic checks on the alleged unremitted funds.

He said the Auditor-General had also assured the committee that the result of the forensic check, expected to cover all areas of concerns, would be made available to the committee.

“We want to lay to rest the issue of unremitted revenue or unaccounted for revenue without further delay. So, we want to stand down on other issues that have to do with the other mandate of the committee.

“We believe all submissions have been made except one, the report we are expecting from the PPPRA on certification of subsidy from July 2013 to December 2013 both for kerosene and PMS.

“The report will enable the committee establish how much really were the total expenditure on subsidy for the two years running.

“We have given them, PPPRA, up to the end of next week. They requested three weeks but we gave them only two weeks and two weeks would expire next week,” he said.

Mr. Makarfi said the other report the committee is expecting is that of the committee-appointed independent consultants to do forensic examination and audit on the expenses the PPPRA incurred.

“We expect their report by the end of next week.

“Their independent report is what will make us form an opinion on the expenses and losses totalling about 2.1 billion dollars based on your submission accounting for that money.

Mr. Makarfi said the auditor-general had also written to the committee confirming that he would conduct forensic checks.

He added that the auditor-general assured the committee that the forensic check would be comprehensive and would cover all the areas of concern.

The chairman quoted the auditor-general as saying that the report of the forensic check would be sent to the committee.

He said that the committee would conclude its work and present its report to the Senate after it received the reports of the independent forensic auditors and the final certification from PPPRA.

He said that the committee would not hesitate to invite any of the agencies for clarification during the course of the technical session to consider the submissions before arriving on specific decision.

But NNPC Group Managing Director, Andrew Yakubu, has insisted that there were no missing funds.

Mr. Yakubu said that it was wrong for anybody to claim that funds were not remitted to the Federation Account.

“We have given a detailed account that no money is missing. Each business is governed by a different business arrangement.

“If you do not trace it to the business arrangement and the governance structure, you will not understand.

“We had under-lifting and reconciliations are held quarterly. When you reconcile, you will be able to balance your books and come up with the true position of things.

“It is too hasty for people to say that money is missing and apportion such a large amount.

“But we have broken them down to the various business arrangements and how monies are accounted for in various arrangements.

“The fact that money is not seen in the Federation Account does not mean the money did not go to other beneficiaries. I want to appeal that we go back to correct this impression that money is missing.”

Mr. Yakubu told the committee that the ongoing investigations would enable the NNPC to give explanations that would help to clear the negative perception about the oil and gas industry.

He added that in the course of the investigations, the corporation was able to present a detailed breakdown of all the remittances it made to the Federation Account.

“We gave a clear and detailed breakdown of what we remitted to the Federation Account. The IOC (International Oil Companies) confirmed that they took their own share because they are partners in the business.

“Everybody that participated in the business arrangement is entitled to his own share.

“The banks are entitled to their own share; the equity contributors are entitled to their own share, so you cannot take 20 billion dollars and give it to Nigeria alone,” Mr. Yakubu added.

The NNPC boss said that the corporation was determined to present to the Senate a detailed analysis of the various streams of funds that belonged to all the key players in the petroleum business arrangement.

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