The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) will tomorrow meet to reconcile the discrepancies in data submitted at its last meeting.
The FAAC meeting was last Thursday, called off due to discrepancies in the oil revenue receipt reported by the NNPC.
The corporation has insisted that it remitted all the required funds to the FAAC, saying the challenge has to do with the interpretation of the data it submitted.
Confirming the re-scheduled meeting, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division GGM/GPAD of the firm, Ndu Nghamadu, said, yesterday, “The NNPC is meeting FAAC on Monday. The NNPC remitted what was expected. There were issues that were raised on the data that was submitted. Hopefully, it would be resolved next week.”
In announcing the postponement, Chairman, Forum of Finance Commissioners in Nigeria, Mahmud Yunusa, said the meeting was postponed after state governors endorsed the move to allow for figure reconciliation.
However, experts have submitted that the rancour between the Federation Account and NNPC would continue until the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill is passed by the National Assembly.
Director, Emerald Energy Institute (EEI) of the University of Port Harcourt, and President of the Nigeria Association of Energy Economics (NAEE), Prof. Wumi Iledare, insisted that Nigerians do not know what Federation Account stands for.
He also accused some former governors of frustrating the Federal Government’s efforts at saving when the price of oil was above $100.
His words: “Petroleum Industry Governance Bill should be passed by the National Assembly so that the NNPC will cease collecting monies on behalf of the federation. NNPC should be an operator and not a revenue collection agency of the federation. The FAAC is not an investment body, but a sharing body. Why is the FAAC not disputing revenues from the Custom, FIRS and other revenue generating agencies? The country is in this crisis because we failed to save when the price was high. The Obasanjo government saved and that is why we were not in trouble when the price of oil tumbled in 2008 or so. Our inability to save then was caused by some former governors, who were in opposition then, but are ministers today. The whole thing was politicised by the political class. Norway has more than one trillion dollars in its sovereign wealth fund, while Saudi Arabia has close to that. Nigeria has slightly above one billion dollar.”
Iledare said that the expectation that NNPC should remit its gross earnings into the federation was wrong saying, “what the NNPC Act says is that net profit be remitted into the Federation Account, but most Nigerians lack this understanding.”
On his part, the Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), Prof. Ayodele Ajayi, said the NNPC should comply with the provisions of the constitution.
He also decried the long silence of the Federal Government on the allegations and counter-allegation of non-remittance.
He said: “I think the Federal Government should come out and say something about this matter. Most of the things we are hearing are at the level of rumours. I do not think there is an activity that cannot be determined. NNPC should tell the country how much oil it produces for us to determine how much is due to the Federation Account.”
He also submitted that the NNPC should not be selling crude oil or engage in the importation of petrol and kerosene, but concentrate on crude exploration, which is its core mandate.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, will today offer explanation for the botched FAAC meeting, where revenue generated for the month of October was to be collated, approved and distributed to the three tiers of government.
The minister’s Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde, said last night: “Expect the minister’s clarification on the botched FAAC tomorrow (today). It’s true that the minister was billed to issue clarification today (yesterday), but due to unforeseen circumstances she was unable to do that. But I can assure you that the clarification will be made tomorrow at all cost. Just exercise patience because the Finance Minister as the FAAC Chairperson is the only competent authority to offer the clarification,” Akintunde said.
A member of the FAAC and the Cross River State Finance Commissioner, Asuquo Ekpenyong, while reacting to the botched meeting said that it was postponed because the FAAC principal actors were held back at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, which held on the same day at the Presidential Villa.
Ekpenyong said: “We had to call off the FAAC Meeting because the Finance Minister and the Accountant General and other officials were held back at the NEC. And since there was readily no information about revenue collected, we had to postponed the meeting till sometime next week (this week). Since there was no information available to us I cannot confirm to you whether indeed there was any discrepancies in the revenue reporting. Let’s wait till we get the information.’’