The spat over an alleged missing oil revenue worsened on Friday as the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) accused the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, of playing politics with oil revenue, emphasising that no $49.8 billion is missing.The corporation has also clarified that the shortfall admitted at the Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting referred to monthly crude returns rather than the issue of missing money the CBN alleged.Addressing a world press conference in Abuja, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Andrew Yakubu, said Sanusi was playing politics over oil revenue accounts which the CBN on a monthly basis reconciled alongside other agencies like revenue service and petroleum resources department.Expressing surprise at the refusal of the CBN governor to retract the allegation, Yakubu said “if not for politics, there is no reason for the allegation on a matter in which CBN and other agencies sit monthly and on which the bank has never raised any objections.”Yakubu posited that the process for revenue remittance was clear and that the NNPC was not in the business of withholding any crude oil receipts due the Federation Account or any other statutory remittances.“All NNPC crude oil liftings is made up of the following: equity crude; royalty oil; tax oil; volume for third party financing and NPDC equity volume. Proceeds from equity crude was paid to Department of Petroleum Resources, (DPR); the proceeds from tax oil or petroleum profit Tax lifted by NNPC is paid directly into the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS),” the GMD said.Noting that the three accounts are domiciled with the CBN, Yakubu explained that NNPC is by statutory requirement responsible for direct remittances of only one stream of liftings, namely equity crude minus other streams which are the responsibilities of DPR and FIRS.
“The CBN letter claims that for the period 1st January 2012 to 31st July 2013, national crude oil liftings was 1.287 billion barrels. Our records show that the total national crude oil lifting for the same period was actually higher at 1.330 billion barrels. Furthermore, total NNPC liftings during the same period were again higher at 618.552 million barrels as against the 594.024 million barrels stated by CBN,” the NNPC boss said.“We further wish to state that the proceeds from the total NNPC liftings comprising federation equity, royalty oil, tax oil, volume for third party finance and NPDC equity amount to USS67.12 billion as against the $65.33bn that the CBN stated,” he said, adding that “NNPC remitted its portion which is $1b.48bn (27.5 per cent) into the Federation Account being the total proceeds from equity crude and gas sales of which CBN acknowledged receipt of $15.528bn (24 per cent).On the issue of $49.8 billion or 76 per cent of total national liftings and the alleged unremitted funds, Yakubu said that this represents the balance of other streams as stated above which he said are remitted to the various agencies which are statutorily empowered to collect and remit same into the Federation Account.On the allegation that the NNPC owes the Federal Government another $22 billion in unpaid levies to the National Export Supervisory Scheme (NESS), Yakubu noted that “the levies under the NESS are paid to third party inspectors based on services rendered to the Federal Government.“The current position is that NNPC has paid a total of $114.78 million from inception of NESS in 2009 up to October 2013 as against the total budget of $117.08 million for the same period. These payments have been reconciled with the CBN,” he said.In a related development, the Chairman, Finance Commissioners Forum, Mr Timothy Odah, said the NNPC accepted that it owed the Federation Account.Odah, the Commissioner for Finance in Ebonyi State, made the revelation in Abuja when he briefed newsmen on the outcome of Friday’s monthly Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.He said the NNPC representative at the meeting admitted that the organisation owed the federation and acknowledged not remitting the exact amount it generated.The governor of CBN wrote a letter to the president, that NNPC failed to remit $49.8 billion to the Federation Account between 2012 to date.Odah, however, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the actual amount of its indebtedness would be determined at the next FAAC meeting.“The NNPC has admitted that truly they owe the Federation Account and by that information, we referred the deliberation on the figure of what they say they owe to the next FAAC meeting.“This is so that the technical committee will be able to examine NNPC accounts before we will be able to publicise or accept the figure they have quoted,” he said.Odah said the NNPC’s acknowledgment of its indebtedness to the Federation Account over revenue it had failed to remit was “important” and described it as a welcome development.“You know previously that it has always been a matter of controversy.“They say they don’t owe and sometimes they will say that it is the Federation Account that owes them, but this time they have accepted that they owe.“Although, the difference between what we claim they owe and what they claim they owe is very marginal,” he said.Odah also said the FAAC technical sub-committee would begin to work on measures to further scrutinise remittances by the NNPC in order to avoid such occurrences in future.