Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mr. Waziri Adio, has said that if unremitted funds of $21.778 billion and N316.074 billion were recovered from the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC), and its upstream establishment, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Nigeria could exit its current economic crisis.
He stated this yesterday while briefing newsmen in Abuja, adding that the agency was committed to supporting the efforts of the Federal Government to recover the trapped funds through the provision of timely information and data.
He said: “Total unremitted revenues to government’s treasury amounted to $21.77 billion and N316.074 billion. At current exchange rate, this comes to about N7.2 trillion. Achieving a recovery rate of just 20 per cent would significantly offset the projected deficit for the 2017 budget. A third of the computed unremitted revenues would completely eliminate the need to borrow to finance the budget.
“The series of audits of the oil and gas sector carried out by NEITI shows that NNPC and its upstream arm, NPDC have failed to remit the stated funds into the federation account, this are amounts due from three main sources , federation assets divested to NPDC and NPDC’s legacy liabilities, payments for domestic crude allocation to NNPC, and dividends from investment in Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) paid to but withheld by NNPC. Recovery of this funds will significantly enhance government’s fiscal position in the short term.”
He disclosed that unremitted funds of the oil and gas industry over the years include outstanding payments of $1.7 billion arising from the transfer of eight Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) from Shell petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) and the sum of $2.2 million from four OMLs from Nigeria Agip Oil Company to the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company.
He noted that the NPDC was yet to pay for these major national assets that were transferred for its commercial operations.
Adio, however, commended the NNPC for its efforts and the changes made, adding that there was evidence of payment of dividends from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) to NNPC.
“But there is no similar evidence to show that NNPC remitted the dividends to the federation account as required by sections 80 (1) and 162 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution as amended,” he added.