* Says 48 million barrels of crude oil not missing
* No frivolous N9bn expenditure, says NCAA
By Deji Elumoye
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Thursday dared the National Assembly to carry out forensic audit of the corporation over the frivolous allegation of missing 48 million barrels of crude.
NNPC described the recent claim by an online medium that 48 million barrels of crude oil were missing as unfounded and total falsehood.
This is just as the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has claimed that there is no frivolous N9 billion spending in the agency.
The issues of the alleged missing barrels of crude oil and unapproved yearly budget of the corporation, came up during an interactive session officials of NNPC had with the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning on projected revenues estimated in the 2021 – 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
The Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Olamilekan Adeola, had while taking up the oil corporation over the alleged missing barrels of oil, demanded proven evidence and not verbal denial by NNPC through media advertorials.
Responding, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Mele Kyari, represented by the Chief Finance Officer, Umar Ajiya, said the Senate and by extension the National Assembly can institute a forensic audit of the corporation so as to know the truth “but from all we know, no crude oil is missing from NNPC”.
According to him, there is no evidence in knocking off the claim than the fact that there were no records of ships that sailed out of the Nigerian waters with such contrabands and clearance from the Nigerian Navy and Directorate of Petroleum and Resources ( DPR).
He said: “No ship leaves the country without clearance from the appropriate unit of the Nigerian Navy and there is no way any ship with such alleged stolen crude could escape from the Nigeria shore.
“As far as the NNPC is concerned, no barrel of crude oil is missing as falsely alleged and very ready to be investigated over it in form of commissioning of a forensic audit by the National Assembly at its own cost.”
The NNPC CFO also put it to the senators that the yearly budget of the corporation is scrutinised and approved by them through consideration and passage of MTEF and FSP which contains revenue projections of the agency along with those of the other ones.
“Proposals such as our revenue projections, cost of operations are well stated in all MTEF/FSP documents made available to National Assembly for consideration and approval, the basis upon which the nation’s budget is passed and signed into law, meaning that it is you (National Assembly) that approves our yearly budget,” he explained.
According to him, the current GMD of NNPC is a change agent and the corporation under him has nothing to hide.
He explained further that the $21 per barrel production cost the corporation is incurring on each barrel of crude oil, will soon be reduced to $13 per barrel in drastically minimizing production cost.
On the $40 per barrel projected as oil price benchmark for the N12.6 trillion 2021 budget, the NNPC CFO said the projection was arrived at, based on available variables.
“Nobody can determine what oil price will be tomorrow, which informs pessimistic thinking as far as such a parameter is concerned,” he said.
Also on Thursday, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) explained that there was no N9 billion frivolous spending in the agency’s internally generated revenue (IGR).
The NCAA General Manager, Public Relations, Sam Adurogboye, stated this while responding to what he called misrepresentation of facts in the ongoing public hearing on the 2021-2023 MTEF/FSP organised by the Joint Senate Committee on Finance and Planning.
Adurogboye said there was no way the NCAA could indulge in frivolous expenditure as he noted that the agency’s IGR collections were domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as required by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF).
He said: “The expenditure of the Authority is in line with its approved annual budget as appropriated by both houses of the National Assembly. This is in order to meet its core mandate of ensuring safety, security and economic regulations in the aviation industry.
“The internally generated revenue (IGR) is with the Central Bank of Nigeria and all spending is in line with the budget appropriations. Therefore, the report of frivolous spending is untrue and a misrepresentation of what transpired at the committee meeting.”