CBN, others given a week ultimatum to account for $22.6billion oil blocs

The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Oil Prospecting Licences (OPLs) and Oil Mining Leases (OMLs), yesterday, gave the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and others a week ultimatum to provide all relevant documents to ascertain the payments of about $22.6 billion oil blocs from application fees, royalties, signature bonuses and other fees by oil companies.

The Gideon Gwani-led committee was set up by the House to investigate the award of all OPLs and OMLs by the Federal Government to ascertain whether due process and guidelines for the acquisition of oil and gas assets were complied with.

The committee had in its inaugural sitting, last week, summoned the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris and the management of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to appear before it yesterday, to account for the whereabouts of $22.6 billion oil blocs. Also told to appear were the management of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation (NPDC).

Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), on Monday, clarified that it was not involved in the collection of signature bonuses (funds) paid by oil companies to the Federal Government upon their successful bid for oil blocs.

In a statement in Abuja, NNPC’s Managing Director, Mr. Maikanti Baru, shed light on the role of NNPC in the oil revenue collection process at a hearing of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on OPLs and OMLs.

According to the Baru, who was represented by the NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Mr Bello Rabiu, it was the DPR, not the NNPC, that is charged with the responsibility of taking receipts of signature bonuses and royalty. He explained that the arrangement allowed NNPC to lift the royalty on oil from Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) and remit the proceeds to the DPR, adding that confirmation and reconciliation of royalty payments to the sister agency were carried out at the monthly meeting between the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and revenue generating agencies.

NNPC assured the Ad Hoc House Committee that it would furnish it with information on its royalty remittances from the PSCs to the DPR from 1992 till date.

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