Nigeria: Govt probes NNPC, NPA, NIMASA over dollar remittances

*US dollars.

*US dollar.

*As 101 firms compete for NNPC’s Offshore Processing Arrangements deal

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

16 October 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The. Federal Government has commenced probe into activities of its agencies over remittance of revenue into the Federation Account
This was disclosed yesterday at the meeting of the National Economic Council, NEC, by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele.

Emefiele told the Council how some Federal Government agencies short changed the country by remitting naira into the Federation Account instead of the dollar revenue they collected.

Briefing journalists at the Presidential Villa after the meeting, Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade said the CBN Governor presented brief report on government agencies involved in the inappropriate remittance.

According to Ayade, the agencies include the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the. Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) among other agencies.

Ayade said, “We received a brief report on how agencies remitting dollar revenues in naira into the Federation account given by the CBN governor. He said investigations are on-going. Such agencies include but not limited to NNPC, NIMASA and NPA.”

Ayade also said NEC received briefing on the excess crude account which stands at $2.2bn as at yesterday.

He added: “On the provision of provisional loans to states based on collaterisation of the excess crude account, the CBN governor briefed that 27 states have made request for the N10bn facility and is currently being processed.

“He has called on the affected states to complete all necessary documentation for the money. Not all states have indicated interest on this ECA collaterised loan.

“On the refund of expenses incurred by state government, the Vice President also briefed Council on detail of this and said that for all those who have followed the right procedure and due process in incurring expenses, processes are being undertaken at this time to ensure refund for such Federal Government based road expenditure by states.”

Meanwhile, the. NNPC yesterday conducted the public opening of bids tendered by 101 Nigerian and multi-national companies competing for the award of Offshore Processing Arrangements, OPA.

According to a statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ohi Alegbe, in the OPA, NNPC undertakes to allocate a dedicated volume of crude oil for refining at offshore locations in exchange for petroleum products at pre-agreed yield pattern.

The exercise, which was said to have been broadcast live on national television and conducted in the full glare of representatives of Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), executives of the bidding companies and other crucial oil and gas industry stakeholders comes as a swift departure from the previous OPA award exercises which were conducted without public participation.

The statement quoted the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to have noted that the Corporation has taken the pain to make the process leading up to the award open to public scrutiny to demonstrate before all members of the public that there was nothing to hide.

“At the end of this exercise, we must be able to engage companies that are known to everybody and not shrouded in mysteries. We must have terms that are very transparent and comparative to terms anywhere else in the world where OPA are being done,” Kachikwu said.

He said while efforts were being made to ensure that refineries were re-streamed to optimal levels, NNPC would in the interim maximise the OPA in such a way as to secure the best deals possible for Nigeria.

“I hope that we should be able to build in futuristic growth patterns in the new deal. We should be able to come up with companies that have solid investments in Nigeria because this is not just a trading issue,’’ he said.

Commenting on the exercise, Mrs. Murjanatu Gamawa, representative of NEITI commended NNPC for the giant step taken towards transparency and accountability.

Managing Director, Pipelines and Products Marketing Company Limited, PPMC a subsidiary of the NNPC, Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, stated that the essence of the exercise was to provide a level playing field for all industry players and to cut-off middle men who have been exploiting the system.

Mrs. Gamawa observed that this was the first time NEITI would be invited to witness a bid process at the NNPC, noting that it was a clear indication that the Corporation takes transparency and integrity issues seriously.

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