CBN reacts to public outcry over $49.8bn revenue diverted by NNPC

By The Rainbow

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday moved to douse tension arising from its letter to the President Goodluck Jonathan alleging that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had diverted $49.8 billion meant for the Federation Account.

The CBN,  through its director of  Corporate Communications Department, Mr Ugochukwu Okoroafor, cautioned Nigerians against politicization of the issue.

Okoroafor,  in a statement on Thursday,  said while it would neither confirm or deny the origin of the letter, the capacity of the bank was strengthened or  undermined by the extent to which the country was able to increase foreign exchange earnings.

It said  it was natural for the apex bank to be concerned about the low level of accretion to reserves and the Excess Crude Account in spite of the strong international oil prices.

It said, 'The attention of the CBN has been drawn to an emerging public discourse around a letter purportedly written by the governor (CBN) to the President, expressing concern over non remittance of oil revenues by the NNPC.

'The CBN will neither confirm nor deny the existence of such a letter and considers any discussions by it on the alleged letter to be inappropriate.'

SaharaReporters, an Internet news medium, reported on Monday that the Governor of the CBN, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, had written to President Goodluck Jonathan complaining about the failure of the NNPC to remit some of the accretion from the oil revenue amounting to $49.8 billion to the Federation Account in contravention of extant laws.

CBN had alleged that the amount in question which represents 76 per cent of the value of crude oil lifting was diverted between 2012 and 2013.

The letter to the President dated September 25, 2013.

The NNPC however rose swiftly to debunk the CBN's allegation, expressing surprise at the level of ignorance exhibited by the CBN about the corporation's operation.

According to the  corporation, the allegation by the CBN governor was borne out of misunderstanding of the workings of the oil and gas industry and the modality for remitting crude oil sales revenue into the Federation Account.