Senate summons NNPC over alleged N443bn subsidy payment
The Senate Committee on Public Accounts, on Wednesday, summoned the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over alleged payment of N443 billion as subsidy without appropriation.
The invitation by the Committee followed an audit query issued on the issue contained in the 2016 report of the Auditor-General of the Federation, being considered by the Committee.
The query reads: “During the examination of Subsidy records provided by FAAC, it was observed that total subsidy paid during the year 2016 was N443,940,559,974.80.
“Oil Marketers – Arrears for 2014 paid in 2015 – payments during the year 2016 without interest is N403,321,449,046.76, Interest & Forex Differential N40,619,110,928.04 totaling N443,940,559,974.80 subsidy deducted at source by NNPC.
“This reflects continuing weaknesses in the budgeting process adopted by the Federal Government,” the report said.
The Accountant General of Federation, Ahmed Idris, had told the Committee that the NNPC will be in better position to explain the extra-budgetary spending by the corporation.
This happened even as the Committee also summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over alleged disappearance of $9.5 million interest from investment of Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), royalty and Foreign Excess Crude account.
The invitation of the apex bank was sequel to the 2016 Auditor General Report which accused the CBN of failure to present documents supporting the investment for verification.
The Committee noted that there was no letter supporting the investment of the fund and the non disclosure of the actual amount invested.
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 totalling $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 accounts as at 28th December 2016 were USD0.00 and USD, 251,826 respectively
“This suggest 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 of interest payable, certificate for the funds invested and forward same for audit verification.”
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide however asked the Accountant General of the Federation, to respond to issues raised in the Auditor-General’s Report of 2016.
However, the Accountant General was unable to present any document on the issue raised by the Committee.
He told the Committee 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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