States accuse NNPC of underpaying N20bn into federation account

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The disagreement between the Federation Account Allocation Committee and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation took a different dimension on Saturday as the committee accused the corporation of deliberately under remitting oil revenue into the federation account.

The Chairman, Forum of Commissioners of Finance of FAAC, Mahmoud Yunusa, said this in Abuja while addressing journalists on Saturday night.

There had been disagreement in recent times between the FAAC and NNPC as a result of revenue underpayment into the federation account.

This year alone, the meeting  ended in a deadlock on four different occasions due to what the committee described as the inability of the NNPC to meet its revenue obligations to the three tiers of government.

The inability of the committee to agree on revenue remittances by the NNPC forced an indefinite postponement of the meeting last Wednesday.

The implication of this development is that most states may not be able to pay the June salaries of their workers on time

Speaking on the development, Yunusa, who is also the Adamawa State commissioner of finance, said that the NNPC had not been transparent with the states in the management of its operations.

For instance, he said that while the NNPC claimed on Wednesday to have remitted N147bn into the federation account, what was actually received was N127bn.

He said based on analysis conducted by the committee, the corporation ought to have remitted a total amount of N146.6bn made up of N87.6bn revenue from Petroleum Profit Tax and N60bn from oil royalties.

He said, “Based on all provable parameters, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation is to remit N87.6bn, being petroleum profit tax and N60bn as royalty amounting to N146.7bn to the federation account as against N127bn paid by NNPC.

“It is better for us to stand down the FAAC with all the pains involved because some states have not paid salaries and it is a good development to trash it once and all.

“In the past, nobody dared the NNPC but now that we have a transparent government in place. What is happening now is what I can call progressive disagreement.”

Explaining further, Yunusa noted  that the while the NNPC claimed to have incurred an expenditure of N3.5bn to address product leakage and pipeline vandalism, the Department of Petroleum Resources, which is the agency that ought to have kept such record, claimed it was not aware of the amount.

This, he noted, cast doubts on the level of transparency of the NNPC.

He added, “There are lots of happenings in the NNPC. We have read in the papers that NNPC said it had remitted what it was supposed to remit to FAAC.

“NNPC claims it has remitted N147bn but what the NNPC actually remitted to FAAC is N127bn. By law, NNPC is required to remit all funds accrued from the sales of crude oil. Based on our analyses, this N127bn is inclusive of royalty and PPT. How can that be?

“By the law establishing these agencies (DPR and Federal Inland Revenue Service), royalty should be given to DPR, while PPT should be given to FIRS in line with the law.

“NNPC has remitted N127bn and it claims it was expected to remit only N112bn. Even if they had agreed with the governors to remit N112bn when the oil was sold at $50 per barrel, what stops them from paying more now that the oil price is at $80 per barrel?”

He added, “Based on what is happening in the economy especially in the oil and gas sector, the oil price is at $80 per barrel and the production is steady.

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