Senate okays N348bn oil marketers’ subsidy claims

The Senate yesterday approved the payment of N348 billion as outstanding subsidy claims to 74 petroleum marketers.
This followed the adoption of the interim report of its Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) on the Promissory Note Programme and a Bond Issuance to Settle Inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations to Petroleum Marketers.
Of this amount, 55 oil marketers are to receive N275, 750, 415, 10, while 19 others will get N73, 452,639,866.
While the committee recommended that the 55 oil marketers be paid 100 percent of their claims, it called for the payment of 65 per cent claims to others due to contentions in their figures.
The upper legislative chamber also mandated the committee to continue its engagement with the Ministry of Finance, oil marketing companies, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and other stakeholders in order to update all the outstanding liabilities and clear all outstanding debts, interest accrued and forex differential once and for all.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Kabir Marafa (APC, Zamfara Central), noted that although marketers made claims to the tune of N670,497,543,15billion, as of June 30, 2017, the PPPRA verified and approved the sum of N429,054,203,228billion to the Federal Ministry of Finance.
He explained that while the verified figure was approved by the Federal Executive Council, further verification by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) reduced the amount to N407, 255,263,288billion.
The panel further observed that continuous delay of the approval of the promissory note request will affect the liquidity of the Oil Marketing Companies and undermine their crucial role in the development of the economy.
The committee, in the report signed by 17 out of 22 members, also explained that the determination of the terminal date of the subsidy programme amount paid to the OMCs and the interest accrued from 30th June, 2017 to date, will be taken up and resolved in the final report.
Notable among the oil marketers and the amount approved for them are: Aiteo N4,988,199,360; Conoil N5,588,285,132; Forte Oil N15,480,445,907; Bovas N5,953,684,258; Capital Oil N8,339,052,402; Mobil N8,282,363,478; MRS Oil and Gas N20,948,270,002; Oando N14,972,585,600; Total N21,569,996,843 among others.
Kachikwu summoned In a related development, the Upper Chamber yesterday resolved to investigate the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr.
Ibe Kachichukwu and the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Mr.
Mordecai Ladan, over alleged irregularities being perpetrated by the duo in the ongoing oil and gas leases renewal, denying the federal government of $10bilion excess revenues.
It mandated its Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) to investigate all issues relating to the lease renewal being undertaken by both the minister and the DPR, and report to the Senate the anomalies in the process and identify appropriate measures to correct same in future.
The resolution followed a deliberation on a motion sponsored by Omotayo Alasoadura (APC, Ondo Central) and three other senators.
Alasoadura alleged multiplicity of irregularities surrounding the leases, which he said has led to massive loss of government revenue.
He accused the minister of granting all manners of illegal discounts and rebates in the process, adding that the alleged action was capable of shortchanging the country and denying it the appropriate revenue accruable from the renewal of the said leases.
The lawmaker said: “The Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Department of Petroleum Resources are proceeding to renew leases of companies that have brazenly and illegally refused to pay royalties due to government, from oil and gas lifted by the said companies in contravention of extant laws.
“The irregularities being perpetrated by the Honourable Minister of state for Petroleum Resources and the Department of Petroleum Resources in the ongoing lease renewal process, is capable of denying government revenue in excess of $10 billion as a result of illegal discounts and rebates in the process of lease renewal.” Alasoadura, who chairs the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), stated further that the DPR had wilfully and deliberately refused to provide the committee with relevant information and data related to the renewal.
In his remark, Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central) stressed the need for the Senate to intervene “when issues are raised about transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector.
“It is very clear that the Minister of State has, in every possible way, been engaged in acts that contravene the law and I believe this is the very person who, over a year ago, wrote an open letter, raising issues about transparency and impunity in the oil sector.
“What this panel can do is to once and for all, bring the minister to make a clarification about the actions he has taken.
Ten billion dollars is no small amount of money.
I believe that we can get to the root of this matter to open other can of worms in the petroleum sector.” In his contribution, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim (APC, Kwara South), suggested that the Chief of Staff to the President be summoned, as he was “rumoured” to be on the board in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
“We are aware that the minister of state, ordinarily, does not have final approval of this type of cases; there’s a board of the NNPC,” he said.
On his part, the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, stated that the issue of transparency has been a major setback in the oil and gas sector.
“We must ensure that using our oversight, there is transparency in the management of our oil resources.
“One of our major problems is the issue of enforcement and regulations because we have sufficient rules to guide us in almost all sectors.
I want to appeal to regulatory agencies and enforcement agencies to wake up to their responsibilities to ensure that the right things are done irrespective of who is involved,” Ekweremadu added.

Matched content

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.