House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has summoned Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, over alleged withdrawal of $20.3 billion from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dividend account. Its chairman, Wole Oke, expressed concern over the NNPC chief’s supposed refusal to respond to the quiz by Auditor General of the Federation (AGF). Oke (Osun: PDP) argued that there was a need for Kyari and heads of relevant agencies to appear before the committee to do clarification.
Details of the fund were contained in a document submitted to the panel by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) on the need to investigate NNPC management’s ‘illegal withdrawals from the NLNG’s dividends account’. The text revealed that from the $21.686illion that accrued to the NLNG dividend account from 1999 to 2020, NNPC spent $20.3 billion, leaving a balance of $1.384 billion as of June 30, 2020.
The report also stated that the NLNG generated $100 billion in sales revenue since inception out of which it paid over $18 billion as dividend through the NNPC and $6.1 billion as Company Income Tax (CIT) through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). “Additionally, the company spent over $15 billion for the purchase of feedstock gas for its operations. Between April 2002 and March 2007, it paid $450,000 as Licence fees and N28.696 million as NLNG license renewal between 1999 and 2017.” Govt continued: “On payment of dividend, NLNG paid all dividends due to the Federation Account to NNPC,” it added.
But a breakdown of the NLNG income tax payment from 1999 to 2020 showed that no revenue was paid between 1999 and 2013, as it enjoyed pioneer status.
It however, paid $1.301b in 2014, $1.491b in 2015, $625.331m in 2016, $304.669m in 2017, $704.182m in 2018, $907.754m in 2019 and $764.143m in 2020. “As part of its monitoring mandate, the RMAFC visited the NLNG in August 2008 and March 2013 and consistently requested the NNPC to remit all dividends received from NLNG to the Federation Account.
“Information available to the Commission indicates that $21.685b accrued to the NLNG Dividend Account from inception to June 30, 2020,” the report stated. Details of how the NNPC disbursed the $20.3b showed that NLNG secretariat got $1.854m, NLNG scheme 4 top-ups received $159.250m, funding of Brass LNG Scheme got $574.420m, the West African Gas Pipeline ($259.900m), N-Gas (Takoradi CEB Account, Gas Monitoring Station ($9.433m), Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline ($1.278m), Olokola LNG ($216.928m), while security project received $1.520b.
The report also stated that $4.372b was transferred to Federal Government, Product Importation Loan to NNPC received $5b, while $3.335b was spent on Paris Club Refund, Sovereign Wealth Fund got $1.050b, $1.200b went for 2016 JV Cash Call Balance and $2.6b was spent on National Fuel Support Fund. In its recommendation to the Committee, RMAFC Chairman, Elias Mbam said: “The commission does not support the diversion of revenue to the Federation Account for whatever reason, as it is illegal and contravenes section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“The NNPC or any other agency does not have the powers under the law to withdraw money from the NLNG Dividend Account for any other purpose apart from remitting it to the Federation Account.”