Insolvency Claim: Senate Probes NNPC Financial Status

Source: EMMA UCHE -
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ABUJA, July 15, (THEWILL) - The Senate has waded into the double speak on the financial status of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as it directed its Committees on Petroleum (Upstream and Downstream) to investigate its insolvency claims by the Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Remi Babalola.

Babalola had claimed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is broke and cannot pay N450 billion owed the Federation Allocation Account Committee, FAAC. The claim was however swiftly debunked by the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday.

President of the Senate, Senator David Mark gave the order yesterday following observations by Senator John Shagaya (PDP, Plateau), that the claims of NNPC's insolvency has led to fears and anxieties among Nigerians at home and abroad, declaring that it was unfortunate that the executive was expected to speak with one voice, 'but they are not'.

Shagaya coming through order 42 of the Senate Standing Rules drew the attention of the Senate to the statement credited to Mr. Babalola that NNPC is broke and another from the Minister of Information and Communication, Professor Dora Akinyuli which dismissed the claims.

He said, "In the last 48 hours or so, there have been publications on the solvency or insolvency of Nigeria as a result of the comments made by the Minister of State (Finance). As a result of this comment, I have received calls from all over Nigeria and outside this country.

"A former Attorney General of the federation was speaking on Channels television this morning that the Minister of State (Finance was economical with the truth. I believe this issue will generate a lot of reactions from Nigerians and in my considered opinion, as serious as the matter is, the senate should be able to look into the matter."

Responding Senator Mark, bemoaned the double speak of the federal government adding that the actions would mislead and cause more confusion in the public.

"Truly my own decision of this, nobody has got the facts now, my ruling will be that the Committees on Petroleum (upstream and downstream) should go and find out and come and brief us. Because at the moment nobody has the facts, "So Lee Maeba and Paulker should jointly go and find out and report back next week. So you should find out whether NNPC is solvent or insolvent. The discordant note from the federal government is very unfortunate and I think they should be united in what they are saying.