Oil firms not paying accurate dues to NDDC – Semenitari

By The Citizen

The acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, on Thursday told the joint National Assembly Committee on Niger Delta that all the oil firms operating in the oil-rich region were not fully complying with the law in their remittances to the commission.

The NDDC Act mandates the oil firms to pay three per cent of their annual budget to the commission which is expected to utilise same to carry out its mandate in the region.

But Semenitari lamented before the Senate and the House of Representatives' joint committees at an interactive session that the oil firms were just remitting whatever they like to the commission from inception.

She stated that the NDDC did not have access to the annual budget of the firms and therefore urged the National Assembly to assist the commission to get the fiscal document from the firms so that the agency would be able to receive the accurate remittances due to it.

Representatives of major oil firms operating in the area such as Shell, AGIP, Total,  SEPLAT, among others, told the National Assembly joint committees that they had made their remittances either in dollar or naira to the NDDC up till last year.

The joint committees took a swipe at the NDDC for converting the dollar remittances from the oil firms into the naira and wondered what exchange rates they used in doing the conversion.

Specifically, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaboshi, queried the NDDC boss for reading out the naira value of the dollar remittances of Platform Oil Company.

Nwaboshi directed the NDDC management to interact with the joint committees in order to obtain the correct remittances due to it and confront the oil firms with the fact in order  to demand the appropriate payment.

He stressed the need for the oil firms to respect the laws of the land by ensuring that they pay the accurate funds due to the agency in order to solve the environmental and social crisis affecting the people of the region. - Punch.