"Accountant General Deceived VP, Governors; ₦324b Oil Money Unaccounted For" - PT
Accountant General deceived VP Osinbajo, governors; ₦324 billion oil money unaccounted for
At a time Nigeria is facing severe economic crunch, a comprehensive oil report presented to the National Economic Council (NEC) has been found to be silent on a whopping N323.58 billion earned as crude oil revenue under the President Goodluck Jonathan government.
The report, submitted to NEC by Mohammed Dikwa, the then Director of Funds, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), revealed a startling discrepancy of about ₦323.58 billion, which his analysis failed to explain.
President Muhamadu Buhari later appointed Mr. Dikwa Acting Accountant-General of the Federation before Ahmed Idris emerged as the Accountant General.
The oil report, exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, dated June 29, 2015 was presented at the 58th Meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC).
The NEC comprises of the 36 state governors, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and other co-opted members. The NEC is chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The report detailed NNPC’s crude oil revenue, remittances to the Federation Account and amount withheld by the NNPC.
Mr Dikwa presented crude oil revenue streams of ₦1,844,764,591,969 for 2012; ₦2,727,834,769,083 for 2013; ₦2,541,454,301,641 for 2014 and ₦1,031,691,963,044 for the first two quarters of 2015. The total oil revenue for the period stood at ₦8,145,745,652,737.
For the amount paid into the Federation account, the report showed the sum of ₦927,312,350,868 for 2012; ₦1,466,951,625,000 for 2013; ₦1,341,545,651,272 for 2014 and ₦591,681,318,358 for the first two quarters of 2015.
The total remittance for the period of 2011 to June 2015 was ₦4,327,490,945,499.
This is shown below:
Even though there were ongoing arguments about the legality of NNPC withholding certain amounts of crude oil revenue, the report showed that NNPC withheld ₦774,382,841,100 in 2012; ₦1,179,883,171,083 in 2013; ₦1,114,306,750,369 in 2014 and ₦426,102,269,704 in the first two quarters of 2015.
The total remittance for the period of 2011 to June 2015 was ₦3,494,675,032,256.
But PREMIUM TIMES’ analyses of the figures revealed that for 2012 and 2013, the sums of ₦143,069,400,000 and ₦80,999,973,000 were not captured in the report either as amounts paid into FAAC or withheld by NNPC.
This mystery continued in 2014 and 2015 as ₦85,601,900,000 and ₦13,908,374,982 were also unreported either as amount paid into FAAC or withheld by NNPC.
Naturally, the amount paid into Federation account and that withheld by NNPC should equal the crude oil revenue for each year. But that was not the case with the OAGF report.
Crude cost (Revenue) (a),
Amount Paid into FAAC (b),
Withheld by NNPC (c),
Unreported Amount in FAAC
Cumulatively, the report by the OAGF failed to explain what NNPC did with ₦323,579,647,982.
However, three critical federal institutions – the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) – all saddled with the responsibility of managing the nation’s oil revenue, failed woefully in spotting the unaccounted billions.
NEC too failed to spot the discrepancy.
It remains unclear why the Office of the Accountant General would present a comprehensive report to NEC on the amount withheld by the NNPC from crude oil sales, yet offering no explanation whatsoever for the about ₦323.58 billion not captured.
Efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to get the NNPC, the OAGF, the CBN and the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation to explain the discrepancies in oil revenue accounting have been repeatedly rebuffed by the agencies.
This newspaper is presently in court with some of the agencies regarding Freedom of Information requests on the matter unanswered or declined by the organisations.
The scale of discrepancies characterizing oil revenue accounting in Nigeria has always been staggering, costing the nation billions and even trillions of naira as revealed in a past report by PREMIUM TIMES.
The huge and systemic losses over the years have had their toll on social services and infrastructure development funding.
Although the unaccounted ₦323.58 billion was only four percent (4%) of the oil revenue for three and half years (₦8,145,745,625,737), the amount is enough to cater for a huge chunk of Nigeria’s 2016 capital budget allocation.
In the last three years of the Jonathan regime, the NNPC was frequently accused of of corruption and non-remittances of accurate oil revenues.
Under President Jonathan, Nigerians were treated with monumental discrepancies in figures of oil revenue earnings released by the NNPC on one hand and the CBN on the other.
The opaqueness that characterized that era created a financial Augean stables that the oil report presented to the NEC was supposed to clean up.
Curiously the CBN, the Ministry of Finance as well as the Accountant General’s office all chose to demonstrate poor arithmetic, all at the same time.
Whilst the NNPC, OAGF and the Ministry of Finance would always defend their figures saying the funds in questions were covered under cost of production, it is widely believed that the unaccounted oil revenues end up in private pockets.
Ms. Alex Gillies, an oil and gas research expert, commenting on reasons for discrepancies and loss of funds, said “some of these funds weren’t “lost” per se, but rather they were spent by NNPC in a secretive and inefficient manner”.
Calling for a revamp or reforms in the sector, Ms. Gilles holds that funds discrepancies and secretive dealings aside, “there’s no question that Nigeria can’t afford the current system– especially not now that oil prices are so low. If the previous government had blocked some of these leakages, Nigeria would have had the savings it needs to weather the current economic hardship.”
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