By Yusuf Alli, Abuja
Stakeholders seek probe from 1999
The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy has asked 69 oil marketers to refund N241.247billion.
Besides the illegal cash they got last year, 46 companies did not pay taxes, according to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
The committee established that N1.692trillion was paid as subsidy last year.
But stakeholders in the industry, including some oil majors, are insisting that the probe ought to be from 1999 to date.
Besides, the presentation of the report today by the committee has assumed ethnic dimension with a group, the South-South Youth Caucus, accusing the North of plotting to undermine President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
The Farouk Lawan-led committee discovered that disqualified subsidy claims by 69 companies amounted to N241.247 billion.
Some of the companies are: Acorn Plc, Alminnur Resources Ltd, AMG Petro-Energy Ltd, Anosyke Group of companies Ltd, Ascon Oil & Gas Company, Avant Garde Energy, A-Z Petroleum, CAH Resources Association Ltd, Conoil Plc, Crust Energy Ltd, Downstream Energy Source Ltd, Dozzy Oil and Gas Ltd, Duport Marine Ltd, Eco-Regen Ltd, Eurafic Oil and Coastal Services Ltd, and First Deep water Discovery Ltd.
Others are: Frado International Ltd, Fresh Synergy Ltd, Heyden Petroleum, Ibafon Oil Ltd, Imad Oil & Gas Ltd, Integrated Resources Ltd, Ipman Investment Ltd, Knightsbridge, Linetrale Oil supply and Trading Company, Lingo Oil & Gas Company Ltd, Lloyds Energy Ltd, Lottoj Oil & Gas Ltd, Maizube Petroleum Ltd, Matrix Energy Oil & Gas Ltd, Menol Oil & Gas Ltd.
The report of the committee reads in part: “Discharges that suffered one or more of the above infractions were adjudged not sustainable and, therefore, not good enough to attract any subsidy. The disqualified claims to subsidy amount to N241.247billion.
“The associated PMS volumes of 3,453,690,070 litres are, therefore, deductible from the annual mass volume, with a view to determining the appropriate volume of consumption.
“These defective transactions should be further investigated by the EFCC to ensure that all those who collected unmerited subsidy are made to refund the amounts collected.”
The committee asked the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to account for over N213.678billion being excess subsidy payments in 2009 and 2010.
The report added: “The Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) should account for N213.678billion being total of excess payments made by it over and above what the PPPRA identified as paid in 2009 and 2010. The OAGF is not only responsible for the accounts of the Federation, including the Petroleum Subsidy Funds (PSF) and Domestic Crude Account, but refused to provide further details on the account when requested to do so during the public hearing.
“EFCC and ICPC should ensure that the OAGF accounts for the over-recovery figures of NGN 2.766billion and NGN5.27billion.”
The panel faulted alleged conflicting figures from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
It said: “NNPC had two sources of recovery of its subsidy viz: (i) Direct deductions from Domestic Crude receipts accruable to the Federation. (ii) Payment by CBN through deduction from distributable revenues as per the Federation Account Component casino Statement.
“NNPC, in its submission, claimed to have earned N586 billion as subsidy from the supply of 7,576,726, 157 litres of PMS in 2011.
“However by PPPRA’s presentation, NNPC was paid a subsidy of N667.533billion for supplying 5,470,007,111 litres of PMS.
“By CBN’s presentation, NNPC was paid N844.944billion as subsidy in 2011. In addition to CBN’s payment of N844.944billion as represented on the Federation Account Component Statement, NNPC made a direct deduction of N847.942billion as subsidy in 2011, bringing all claims to N1.692 trillion.”
On the jump in subsidy to N1.6trillion in 2011, the Lawan committee said the PPPRA’s argument that it was due to computed arrears was untenable and illegal.
It said: “PPPRA, in its presentation to the House of Representatives, had hinted that the noticeable upsurge in subsidy payment in 2011 was due not only to increase in subsidy per litre but also due
to the computed arrears due NNPC for HHK discharges. This was established from NNPC’s submission to be N284.580billion.
“This payment of subsidy arrears on HHK was an illegality, having been proscribed by a presidential directive in 2009. NNPC was stopped from further collecting subsidy on HHK. The corporation abided by the presidential directive but unilaterally reversed the situation without any counter directive or order from the President.”
Following the leakage of the report, some stakeholders in the oil industry met last night in Abuja ahead of its presentation today.
After the session in a posh hotel, one of the stakeholders, who spoke in confidence, said: “For Nigerians to know the truth about fuel subsidy, we are demanding that the House should extend the probe to subsidy payment since 1999 or pre-1999 era.
“That is the only condition the report can be acceptable or credible. They cannot make those who imported fuel from 2009 to 2011 scapegoats. We want fairness for all.
“Nigeria can only clean its oil industry, if there is a comprehensive inquiry into the subsidy management since 1999 or before 1999.”
The Coordinator of the Southsouth Youth Caucus, David Osaro, in a statement last night, said: “The North wants to use the House of Representatives probe to bring down Jonathan’s government.
“It has become very clear that the current House of Representatives probe of the petroleum industry and the deregulation of the downstream sector is nothing but a subtle plot by the North to discredit and ultimately bring down the Jonathan administration.
“It is very evident that in order to achieve their aim, the North quickly cashed in on the fuel subsidy removal issue, and due to its sensitivity, everything was put in place to actualise their plans of truncating this administration. Otherwise, how else do you explain the fact that a probe into the activities of the oil industry should have predated the current administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan?
“Even more curious is the fact that similar probes in the past have not yielded anything that the ordinary Nigerian can be proud of, both in terms of findings and implementation of probe reports. Ordinarily, it would have been taken for granted that the House of Representatives panel may find nothing actually incriminating against the current government of Mr. President but the manner in which the House is going about it truly leaves much to be desired, in terms of its sincerity.
“If tradition is also anything to go by, it may be pertinent to state that the North is trying to use the House of Representatives to achieve its plan of shifting the power equation back to the North. If this were not the case, how then do you rationalise the failure of the House to actually extend the probe to also include the oil industry from 2009 till date?”
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