The Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum on Wednesday said the revenue leakages happening in the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited were a result of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)’s continued oversight of the portfolio of Minister of Petroleum Resources.
This is as they called for the urgent separation of the two portfolios.
The governors disclosed this in a communique issued after their meeting in Aba, Abia State.
“We believe that all these leakages in NNPC have been made possible because the President is also the Minister of Petroleum. The urgent separation of these two portfolios has become necessary,” the governors insisted.
The communique, read by the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, noted that the NNPC deducts N8.33bn monthly for the rehabilitation of the refineries in Nigeria but no refinery is working to date.
They also noted that the NNPC deducted N788.78bn for various investments between 2018-2021 for priority projects in the oil and gas sector, without recourse to the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee.
PDPGF, therefore, rejected claims by the NNPC that it paid about N1tn in petroleum subsidy in one year.
“The NNPC in 2021 alone claimed to have paid over One Trillion Naira as petroleum subsidy. Indeed, in March 2022, N220bn was deducted as oil subsidy with a promise that N328bn will be deducted in April 2022. This is unacceptable.
“The NNPC and the FIRS, as well as other remitting agencies, continue to apply an exchange rate of N389/$1 as against the Import and Export window of N416/$1. The extent of this leakage can be better felt if this rate is compared to the current N570/$1.
“From available records about N7.6tn is withheld between 2012 and 2021, by the NNPC from the Federation Account. All these are said to be payments for oil subsidies. We believe that all these leakages in the NNPC have been made possible because the President is also the Minister of Petroleum. The urgent separation of these two portfolios has become necessary,” the governors said.
The PDP governors also criticised the NNPC for failing to meet up with its statutory contributions to the Federation Account despite selling crude oil for $110.
According to them, “It is patently unconstitutional for NNPC to determine at its whim and discretion when and what to pay to the Federation Account, as it is a mere trustee of the funds for the three tiers of Government: Federal, States and Local Governments.
“We once again call for investigations and audits of the quantity of consumption of fuel ascribed to Nigerians and for the deployment of technology at the filling stations to determine transparently the volume of consumption. The governors would resist any further attempt by the NNPC to ascribe unsubstantiated subsidy claims to other tiers of government.”
At the meeting, the governors raised the alarm over various reports of crude oil theft ranging from 80 per cent to 95 per cent of the output industry stakeholders.
They, therefore, urged the FG to set up robust mechanisms to stop this occurrence and punish those found guilty.