Missing $49.8bn: NNPC, CBN, FIRS To Meet On Monday To ‘Straighten The Record’

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Finance will on Monday hold a meeting to resolve the controversy surrounding the over $49.8bn (N8tn), which the CBN governor, Mr. Sanusi Lamido alleged in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, NNPC failed to remit to the federation account.

Although, the NNPC in its initial reaction faulted the apex bank’s claims on the missing funds saying Mr. Lamido did not understand the workings of Nigeria’s oil industry, the government-owned oil firm has agreed that there is the need to sit down and resolve grey areas.

The NNPC’s Executive Director, Explorations and Production, Mr. Abiye Membere, and the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Gerorge Osahon, disclosed this on Saturday at a media briefing in Abuja.

Osahon said, “The agencies are meeting on Monday to straighten the record.”

Corroborating Osahon, Membere said, “All the agencies will meet on Monday: the CBN, NNPC, FIRS (Federal Inland Revenue Service), the ministry of finance and the budget office.

“The ministry of finance and the budget office has to be there because they give us the target”.

Membere stated that the NNPC was ready to defend what it had done just as he expressed surprise that the CBN governor’s letter which was written in September 2013, was leaked to the public only last week to heat up the polity.

He said, “The letter was written in September. The NNPC responded immediately through the channel it came. It was really surprising that a confidential letter of this nature will also go out and heat up the polity.

“This is actually why we are worried, considering where it is coming from. It is coming from the top. It is taking a political dimension, which is not good for the country at all.  It has come to a point where the NNPC and other agencies have no choice but to keep the record straight”.

He said the NNPC remitted $18.48bn to the federation account and not the $15bn alleged by the CBN.

Membere stated, “The CBN governor’s letter indicated an amount that was remitted: $15bn. But our record indicated that we remitted $18.48bn within the same period (January 2012-July 2013)”.

The executive director said the CBN ought to have checked accounts for royalty and tax before making the claim about the missing $49.8bn.

He stated that there was no way NNPC would collect revenue on behalf of the Federal Government and not remit it.

He, however, warned that expectations on revenue should be lower compared to previous years due to the increased activities of oil thieves and oil pipeline vandals.

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