The House of Representatives has said that Nigerians should blame the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for any delay in the passing of the corporation’s 2013 budget.
Also, the House said the controversy over the benchmark to be used in the 2013 budget has been referred to the conference of the National Assembly Joint Committees to decide.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Hon. Abdulmumni Jibrin, in a chat with THISDAY shortly after the meeting of 60 revenue generating agencies.
According to him “Nigerians should blame any delay in the National Assembly not passing the 2013 budget on time on the NNPC because the corporation has refused to appear before it to explain some critical issues relating to the revenue projection.
“NNPC has projected an oil production of 2.5 million barrels of oil per day. There is the need for NNPC to appear before the House Committee to explain how it intends to produce 2.5 million barrel of crude per day. We want to know the revenue expected from gas and the status of the Joint Ventures and other projections by the NNPC.
“Other revenue generating agencies like the Federal Inland Revenue Services, the Customs Service and the Department of the Petroleum Resources (DPR) have appeared before the House Committee on Finance, but the NNPC is yet to respond despite several invitations to it.
“We have written three letters to the NNPC, but up till this moment, NNPC is yet to respond.” Hon. Jibrin told THISDAY.
According to him, the House is raising this alarm for Nigerians to know before the legislators would be blamed, explaining that the members of the House of Representatives have resolved to pass the 2013 budget on time, to avoid blames on the implementation of the budget as is the case with the 2012 budget.
He also threatened that the House will have no other alternative than to invoke its legislative powers to compel NNPC to appear.
On the benchmark to be use on the budget, since the Senate has benchmarked the budget on $78 and the House of Representatives on $80, the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance said, “since there was a disagreement on the benchmark to be adopted, the matter has been referred to the National Assembly Conference on Finance and the leadership of the two houses of the National Assembly. We expect them to resolve the matter based on the legislative procedures.”.
Jibrin also accused some revenue generating agencies in the country of ripe off, saying, “Can you imagine that some agencies will generate N160 billion and expend N160 billion.”
He explained that the standard procedure is for the revenue generating agencies to generate revenue for the country and expend only 20 per cent and remit 80 per cent to the federation account.
He said that in the 2012 budget, the revenue generating agencies generated over N1.01 trillion as revenue and expended N1.31 revenue, thereby leaving a deficit of close to N300 billion.