By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO, Abuja
The House of Representatives yesterday commenced a public hearing into the alleged non-remittance of over N6 trillion per anum, as well as $5.5 billion into the Federation Account by Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) has been flagged off by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
Managing Director of NPDC, Yusuf Matachi confirmed that the company was owing $1.7 billion, noted that the company has signed agreement with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on payment of $10 million on monthly basis.
Contrary to his presentation on the $10 million monthly repayment, the documents submitted by NPDC to the Committee showed that: “DPR granted NPDC a payment of $50 million monthly in January 2017 to defray outstanding debt but the plan was not adhered to.”
The document however stated that “in October 2017, NPDC aplird to pay $10 million monthly to Clea the outstanding debt and it was approved by DPR. However no poatment has been made.”
According to Matachi, the company which was floated in 1988 as an arm of NNPC to operate on the upstream sub-sector has recorded growth in assets and capacity, and rated as fourth oil producing company in Nigeria as well as the only indigeneous producer and supplier of gas to the power generating companies.
While affiming that the company is owing $1.7 billion, he noted that the parties agreed that NPDC’s profits will be deducted from first lime charge by DPR to avoid further accumulated debt.
Also, a representative of DPR, Folasade Odunuga, confirmed the tripartite agreement on the $1.7 billion indebtedness, however denied receipt of the $10 million allegedly paid in November, 2017.
Also speaking, Sanya Bajomo, DPR’ Head of Upstream disclosed that the company currently operates 14 oil blocs, four not yet operational while five are yet to be deployed.
According to him the company has 3.7 billion barrels of oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of gas of developed assetsz adding that the company produces 200,000 barrels of crude per day with alliable of 210,000 barrels per day.
He added that the company through its 5 year plan, is to drill 17 explorative wells, increase reserve and 196 development wells and 77 work-overs.
Speaking earlier, Victor Nwokolo, chairman, House Committee in Petroleum (Upstream) who noted that the exercise was in tandem with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, assured that the investigate hearing was not aimed at witch-hunting any organization or individual.
He disclosed that the frst plank of the Committee’s mandate was to “enquire into the alleged infraction in the operations and activities of NPDC. The second issue is to examine the persisting lack of capacity, leading to revenue losses to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He maintained that Nigeria “cannot afford losses if revenue I’m any of our investments, whatever there are wastages and/or leakages, as representatives of the people, it is our duty to put an end to it.”
While declaring investigate public hearing open, Speaker Yakubu Dogara who expressed support for Federal Government’s diversification policy into agriculture, lunecsed exploration and manufacturing sectors, observed that oil remains the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy until such feat is achieved.
The Speaker who harped on the need for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to be accountable to Nigerians, assured that “any proven infractions to structures and processing in the oil and gas sector would tantamount to sabotaging the lifeline of the nation and will therefore be viewed and great concern.”
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