…Oil subsidy gulped $74.3b
…NNPC others re-issued invitations to answer audit queries
By Lubem Gena
The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has ordered the Accountant General of the Federation, Mrs Oluwatoyin Sakirat Madein, to furnish the committee with details of the spending made by the Federal Government on several interventions during the Covid-19 pandemic unfailingly on or before Friday 3rd of November.
The Chairman of the Committee, Representative Bamidele Salam said the order has become necessary in view of the failure of the Accountant General to meet up with the October 27th deadline earlier given for the submission of the details and supporting documents.
Other government agencies that have several financial infraction allegations leveled against them include the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) with 5 queries.
The queries range from payment vouchers not supported with adequate and relevant documents (N138,541,586.62); failure to deduct statutory taxes from contractors fees (N4,264,099.30); irregular payment of duty tour allowances to staff without proper description of purpose (N21,300,000); non-compliance to limit on cost of meals and refreshment during official meetings (N40,234,099:50) and stoppage on non-payment of annual subscriptions, fees and other related charges to professional bodies on behalf of officers in services amounting to N26,268,640:00.
While the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was queried for making payments without adequate supporting documents amounting to N1,925,388,991:70, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is requested to face the committee to explain issues amounting to N3,743,167,632.20 and USD71,223.23 and Investment and Securities Tribunal is to provide clarification on queries totaling N70,044,660.76 as well as the National Industrial Court of Nigeria is to invited in relation to non-deduction and remittance of Value Added Tax as well as stamp duty related matters amounting to N2,440,000:00.
In view of the change of leadership in some of the agencies and invited organisations, it was resolved that a new invitation date is issued to them to enable them with the Federal Inland Service (FIRS) scheduled to cause appearance on Thursday, 2nd November, 2023.
Meanwhile, while appearing before the committee, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji Ogbonnaya said $74.386 billion as oil subsidy since 2011.
“I have here, for instance, revenues we have earned from oil and gas since 1999. We also have here all the subsidy payments made. Since 2005 when it became a scandal, we began to collect the data. We began to ask question on subsidy and as at 2021, the country had paid, $74.386billion on subsidy. And we have breakdown of what was paid each year. We have also got a conversion of what that can possibly translate to”, he stated.
He also informed the gathering that, $16.25 billion was lost to oil theft in Nigeria stating that the data was arrived at from a data collected from various sign offs by operators and government agencies.
“In the course of this job, we have incentivized a lot of recoveries for the government because between what is paid and what was recovered, a lot of money in foreign exchange developed wings. Company A will say we paid $1million and you go to the account of the receiving agency and you find out that either half of that money was not received or more is received more than what was paid because of poor record keeping and carelessness”, he added.
He emphasized that, over $8.3billion were unremitted funds on the part of some government agencies and companies.
While responding to a question posed by the Chairman, he said the vigilant activities have saved the country of millions of dollars as well as help in recovering monies for the government.