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Senate queries NNPC over N443bn subsidy payment

…summons CBN over ‘disappearance’ of $9.5m
Reps probe crude oil allocation from 2018

The Senate, yesterday, uncovered how Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) allegedly paid N443 billion without appropriation from the National Assembly via the national budget. The apex legislative assembly made the discovery when the Senate Committee on Public Account went through the 2016 report of the Auditor-General of Federation. Infuriated by the development, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, summoned the authorities of the NNPC to come and explain the expenditure made on subsidy without budgetary provision.

The query reads: “During the examination of subsidy records provided by Federal Account and Allocation Committee (FAAC), it was observed that total subsidy paid during the year 2016 was N443,940,559,974.80…. “This reflects continuing weaknesses in the budgeting process adopted by the Federal Government.”

The Accountant-General of Federation, Ahmed Idris, told the committee that the NNPC would be in a better position to explain the extra-budgetary spending by the corporation. The committee also summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over alleged disappearance of $9.5 million interest from Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude. The committee resolved to invite the nation’s apex bank following the 2016 Auditor-General Report, which accused the bank of failing to present documents supporting the investment for verification.

The Senate panel observed that there was no letter supporting the investment of the fund and that the actual amount invested was not disclosed. Part of the query reads: “During the examination of transfers to Foreign 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 totalling $9.5 million 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. “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.” Urhoghide, however, asked the Accountant- General of the Federation, to respond to issue raised in the Auditor-General Report. However, the Accountant- General was unable to present any document, saying that the Office of the Accountant-General has sent a letter to the CBN for clarification on the issue raised.

 

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