Stories by Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has offered to help the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) collect unpaid taxes and royalties from oil companies, including those on Joint Venture (JV) and Production Sharing Contract (PSC) arrangement with it.
NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, made this known when he hosted members of the Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property in his office.
He said though it was not the statutory job of the corporation to do that, however, it would help both agencies with the necessary support because, “as an enabler organisation, we will support them because we see our roles beyond our immediate responsibility.”
Mallam Mele Kyari, also said the NNPC had nothing hide as regards its operations, adding that it was in its interest to embrace transparency in all areas of its operations.
He said: “Every member of our management shares the vision of Mr. President that government’s institutions must be accountable to all Nigerians. We know that we will gain more by being more transparent. We have nothing to hide.”
He equally stated that an alleged underpayment of lease renewal fees on Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 67, 68, and 70 by ExxonMobil was untrue, adding that the company paid $600 million as its 40 per cent equity contribution in the joint venture agreement, with the NNPC left to pay the remaining 60 per cent.
The corporation paying the 60 per cent, he explained, was unnecessary because it represented the government of Nigeria.
“Ordinarily, NNPC would have contributed the balance of 60 per cent of the amount which literally meant government paying monies to itself. There was no need for that,” he explained.
Further, he stated that the NNPC has not defied the government’s directive on the Treasury Single Account (TSA), adding that it had no secret account but only accounts known by the government and its relevant agencies.
“There is no single account NNPC is operating that is unknown to the federal government. Any account(s) outside the TSA platform are partner accounts which we have obtained due approvals from the government,” he said, while insisting that all monies belonging to the corporation were domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with the CBN and the Accountant General of the Federation being its account managers.
On outstanding taxes and royalties reportedly owed the federation by NNPC’s upstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Mele Kyari stated there were outstanding payments though.
He, however, assured that concerted efforts to reconcile every payment due to the federation on taxes and royalties by the NPDC had been initiated.
“The only outstanding payment is the $600 million and we have a pre-payment plan with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) such that by mid-2020, we will have (no) money left to be paid,” he said.