The Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force set up by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, following the anti-subsidy removal protest and the need to enthrone accountability in the sector, under the Chairmanship of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, is yet to submit its report at the expiration of its timeline, LEADERSHIP learnt.
The task force was given a 60- day timeline beginning from February 29, 2012, to carry out its mandate as stated in its terms of reference.
The committee’s terms of reference included determining and verifying all petroleum, upstream and downstream revenues, taxes, royalties, etc., due and payable to the government, and taking all necessary steps to collect all debts due and owed to the Federal Government.
It was also charged with obtaining agreements and enforcing payment terms by all oil industry operators, design a cross debt matrix between all agencies and parastatals of the petroleum ministry and develop an automated platform to enable effective tracking, monitoring, and online validation of income and debt drivers of all the ministries, parastatals and agencies.
The committee was also to work with world-class consultants to integrate systems and technologies across the production chain to determine and monitor crude oil production and exports and ensuring at all times, the integrity of payments to government as well as submit monthly reports and other reports as necessary for ministerial review and further action.
When contacted on the status of the committee’s report, spokesman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, said the report was not ready. He said, ‘’how do you calculate your 60 days, do you consider weekends and public holidays? The report is not ready, it will be made public when it is ready.’’
However, two lawyers in separate interviews with our correspondent have expressed divergent views over the propriety of Ribadu to turn in his report within days.
Yusuf Ali, SAN, said that except it is included in the reference, 60 days under the law does not recognise weekends and public holidays.
But Femi Falana, SAN, on his part said the law does not expect anyone to work on weekends, saying that 60 days is not sacrosanct. ‘’The 60 days is flexible under the law unless where there is a law backing that the submission must be on that day.