By Deji Elumoye
The Senate yesterday queried the management team of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for remitting a meagre N44.5 billion into the Consolidated Revenue Fund out of the N2.4 trillion it generated in 2019.
This is just as heads of some revenue generating agencies invited yesterday by the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and Planning for interactive sessions on their 2021 revenues projections, refused to appear on alleged grounds of indisposition and hospitalisation
The DPR ran into troubled waters during the interactive session when the joint committee led by Senator Olamilekan Adeola demanded for records of the agency’s internally generated revenues in 2019 and projections for 2021.
DPR’s Head of Planning, Mr. Johnson Ajewole who stood in for the Director, Sarki Auwalu, said a total of N2.4 trillion was generated by DPR in 2019 but N44.5 billion was remitted into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Worried by the wide gap in what was realised and remitted, the committee members described his submission as unacceptable.
Further explanation by the Head of Finance and Accounts of the Petroleum agency, Mrs. Lilian Ufondu, about the wide gap in revenues and remittance, further angered the committee members.
According to her, out of the N2.4 trillion generated by DPR in 2019, N88 billion was removed as 4% collection fee out of which N5.72 billion was also remitted while the balance was used for overhead.
Questions fired at her by the committee Chairman and members on what happened to the over N2 trillion balance, could not be satisfactorily answered as she was only able to mention overhead and operational costs without specific figures tied to them.
She added that as at July this year, DPR had generated N1.13 trillion and projecting N3.4 trillion as revenues for 2021 out of which N139 billion will be taken out as 4% collection fee.
Concerned by the alleged disjointed records presentations, the committee ordered the agency to reappear before it unfailingly next Tuesday and must be led by its Director, Sarki Auwalu, who was said to have travelled abroad.
Senator Adeola said : “Information and records presented to us by both Directors or heads of departments that have spoken are not clear and insufficient as regards budget performance of DPR within the last three years and revenue projection for 2021.
“For this committee to do proper and thorough job, comprehensive records of such budget performances must be made available latest by Monday next week, upon which your Director and other top management staff will appear before us again by Tuesday next week. Also, well detailed proposals for revenues generation by the agency for 2021-2022 must be included in the expected comprehensive records.”
Like in the case of DPR, heads of other agencies like Nigeria Inland Waterways (NIWA), Bank of Industry (BOI) and Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), were also conspicuously absent at the interactive session and accordingly ordered by the committee to reappear next Monday.
While NIWA’s boss was said to have travelled abroad, those of BOI and SON, were reported to be indisposed or hospitalised.
When asked by the Committee Chairman the hospital the Director-General of SON, Osita Aboloma was being treated from the Director of Budget, David Okon, he said ” I don’t know”, which elicited laughter among those present in the hall.