NNPC debunks House report on oil subsidy claims

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The NNPC has picked holes in the House of Representatives Committee probe report on petroleum subsidy regime and denied it was paid N844.9 billion by the CBN to recover its subsidy claims.

Dr Levi Ajuonuma, the NNPC Group General Manager (Public Affairs) said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

The report, which was submitted to the House on Wednesday accused the NNPC, PPPRA and some oil marketers of financial impropriety.

The NNPC was said to have been paid N844.9 billion by the CBN for subsidy claims, in addition to the direct deductions the NNPC made from crude sales, among others.

Ajuonuma denied the accusation.

“Such a claim is totally unfounded and absurd. We challenge both the CBN and Ad Hoc Committee to provide evidence that such payments as alleged were made to NNPC. They must show authorisation for the payments as well as breakdown of the amount, purpose for the payments, beneficiary accounts in which such payments were made and the utilisation of such payments.’’

The NNPC spokesman explained that rather than collecting such payments from CBN as alleged, the NNPC applied such subsidy approvals as credit due to the corporation toward the cost of its domestic crude allocation.

“The mechanics of subsidy recovery by NNPC is not fund based but by way of deduction form crude cost due. As a matter of fact, from the commencement of the subsidy regime, there was never a time when CBN paid any money to NNPC in respect of subsidy claim.’’

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Ajuonuma lamented the fact that the Committee did not make use of the documents and information which the NNPC made available to it.

“For instance, NNPC presented to PPPRA approvals for 2011 totalling N981billion out of which only N844.9 billion has been credited to NNPC.

“But surprisingly, the Committee claimed that PPPRA approved only N504 billion and that the balance was excess payment to NNPC. What logic.’’

Ajuonuma also picked holes in the Committees query of NNPC’s deduction of subsidy payment as a first line charge.

“The basis for the deduction of both cash calls for joint venture operations and NNPC’S subsidy payments as a first line charge on the income of the Federal Government is statutory and founded on the Appropriation Act, which was passed by the National Assembly. Under the said Appropriation Act, certain budgetary items, including subsidy payments to the NNPC, are listed as first line charges on the income of the Federation.

“It is clear that the tune of the Committee’s report is not only damaging to the Corporation but to the entire nation. At this stage it is pertinent to ask the question, whose interest is this committee serving?.’’

The report will be laid before the House Tuesday.