Senate queries NNPC over N443bn on subsidy without appropriation

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    …summons CBN over missing $9.5 million

     

    The Senate Committee on Public Accounts on Wednesday disclosed how the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, spent N443 billion on oil subsidy in 2016 without budgetary provision.

    The panel, therefore, summoned the leadership of the National Oil Company to brief it on the expenditure.

    The committee’s chairman, Matthew Urhoghide, issued the summon yesterday when the panel considered a 2016 report by the Auditor-General for the Federation.

    “During the examination of subsidy records provided by Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, it was observed that total subsidy paid during the year 2016 was N443,940,559,974.80,” the audit report.

    The breakdown of the fund showed that N403.3 billion was paid to oil marketers, while interest & foreign exchange differential gulped  N40.6 billion, totaling N443.9 billion.

    The fund, according to the report, was spent in 2016 without budgetary provision and was deducted at source.

    “This reflects continuing weaknesses in the budgeting process adopted by the Federal Government,” it added.

    Responding to the audit report, the Accountant General of the Federation,  Ahmed Idris, told the committee that the NNPC would be in better position to explain the extra-budgetary spending.

    The Chairman of the committee, Matthew Urhoghide summoned the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari to give explanation on the expenditure.

    In a related development, the committee also  summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, over alleged disappearance of $9.5 million interest from Investment Petroleum Profit Tax, PPT, Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude.

    The invitation of the apex bank in the country was sequel to the 2016 Auditor General Report which accused the Central Bank of Nigeria failing to present documents supporting the investment for verification.

    The Senate observed that there was no letter supporting the investment of the fund and the actual amount invested were not made known.

    The query reads, “During the examination of transfers to Forefinger Excess PPT/Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude Accounts it was observed that during the year 2016, amount totaling $6 million and $3.5 million were credited to the Foreign PPT/Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude Account  as interest on Funds investments.

    “The authority for placing the funds which yielded the above interests totaling $9.5 in deposit account, the principal sums deposited, the tenor and rate of interest were not made available for audit verification.

    “This observation had also been a subject of my reports since 2017 without any positive response from Central Bank of Nigeria. Records made available for audit further revealed that the balance in the foreign PPT/Royaltt and Foreign Excess Crude a accounts as at 28th December  2016 were USD0.00 and USD, 251,826 respectively.

    “This suggests the foreign PPT/Royalthy was depleted before the year end. The Accountant General has been requested to provide the authority for the funds invested, tenor of the investment, rate on interest payable, certificate for the funds invested and forward same for audit verification.”

    Urhoghide however asked the Accountant General of the Federation, to respond to issue raised in the Auditor General Report.

    The Accountant General was unable to present any document on the issue raised by the Committee.

    He further told the lawmakers that the Office of Accountant General has sent a letter to the Central Bank of Nigeria for clarification on the issues raised.

     

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