Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Allison Madueke
Top Nigerian officials who have been meeting to verify claims that N8 trillion oil revenues had been missing over the last 18 months have narrowed their differences to about N1.9 trillion missing.
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sanusi Lamido Sanusi raised the issue of the missing trillions in a letter he wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan in September.
The letter was published recently and the President asked the Minister of Finance Ngozi Okwonjo-Iweala, minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Allison Madueke, the CBN Governor, GMD of NNPC Andrew Yakubu, DPR director George Osahon and top officials from the Budget Office to meet and verify the claim.
After meeting for several days, Mrs. Okwonjo-Iweala said at a news conference yesterday that the NNPC had mostly accounted for the unremitted sum of $49 billion as claimed by CBN.
She said what was recorded over the period January 2012 to July 2013 is a shortfall of $ 10.8 (about N1.6 trillion) from domestic crude oil receipts due to the Federation Account, Iweala said.
She explained that during the meeting NNPC noted that the actual proceeds from crude oil exports in the period were $67.12bn which was higher by $1.79 billion than the $65.3billion CBN reported.
“A ccording to NNPC’s records, the total revenues of $67.12billion was comprised of revenues which directly accrued to NNPC (for the Federation Account) of $14billion, and additional revenues lifted by NNPC on behalf of other parties.”
These other parties, NNPC claimed accounted for the income that was calculated as the total generated revenue which the CBN hoped would have been remitted to the Federation Account. The parties are FIRS ($15billion), for DPR ($2billion), for NPDC ($6billion) and for other third party financing ($2billion).
In addition, the total amount of crude lifted by NNPC amounted to $28billion which was not reflected in the CBN’s foreign accounts but was said to have been paid directly in Naira into the Federation Account.
Thus, with the inclusion of the various exports conducted on behalf of the non-NNPC parties, the total of $67 billion was mostly accounted for, to address the issues raised by the CBN, Iweala concluded.
Meanwhile, the NNPC acknowledged a shortfall in oil revenue remitted to the Federation Account during the period under review but disputed the figure of about $10.8 billion agreed by other stakeholders as missing revenue.
Speaking on the shortfall, Alison-Madueke added that crude oil theft has been a major cause of revenue shortfall in recent times.
The CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, speaking on the issue publicly for the first time, said the government bank has the responsibility to be transparent in fiscal issues and that the letter written on the difference in crude oil proceeds was informed by such.
“We were concerned at what we saw as a gap between what we had in our records as the values of crude shipped by NNPC and the amount repatriated as equity to the federation account.
“What we have in our records was that about 65 billion dollars was shipped by NNPC and about 15 billion dollars was returned into the federation account,” he said at the Senate yesterday.
Sanusi said that the reconciliation meeting had helped both parties and the apex bank to understand the difference in the records and where there were short falls.
“It was crude that was paid by oil companies as taxes, royalty and shipment and that explain half of the 50 billion dollars (49.8 billion dollars).
“The outstanding issue is on the 28 billion dollars domestic crude which has been taken by the NNPC,’’ Sanusi said.
He said that from the CBN’s records, it had received 16 billion dollars and a shortfall of 12 billion dollars, adding that the shortfall formed part of the ongoing discussion in the reconciliation meeting.
The top officials later appeared before Senate committee on Finance.
“The shortfall is about 12 billion dollars, now we still are in the process of reconciling that number and we have not yet started talking about the export sales tax which is 20 billion which we will reconcile and the finance ministry has told us that even before this letter this has been an ongoing negotiations and discussion with the NNPC and the FAC committee and this numbers have always been discussed at the level of convenience of finance,” Sanusi said.
However, Okonjo-Iweala disagreed, saying: “I just wanted to add that what we found out is $10.8 billion, he mentioned $12 billion.”
Commenting at the begging of the meeting, Senate President David Mark said the upper legislative chamber has not taken any position on the allegation and called on the committee to maintain its neutrality.