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NNPC, RMAFC DISAGREE ON N450BN DEBT TO FEDERATION ACCOUNT

By NBF News
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BY BEN AGANDE
ABUJA - The Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, yesterday disagreed on the indebtedness of the NNPC to the Federation Account with the RMAFC insisting that the NNPC was indebted to the Account while the later said the amount in question was the Federal Government's indebtedness to the corporation.

In a presentation to the Joint Committees of the House investigating the non-remittance by the NNPC and other agencies in the petroleum sector to the federation account, RMAFC chairman, Engr. Elias Mbam, said the NNPC 'began the practice of withholding some portions of receipts due to the Federation Account from the domestic crude sales from November 2004,' adding that 'after much deliberations, accusations and counter-accusations, NNPC admitted that it owes N450 billion to the federation account.'

But the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Austin Oniwon, who is scheduled to make a presentation of the NNPC tomorrow, insisted that though the corporation was making refunds of the alleged indebtedness 'under duress,' it was not indebted to the federation account.

According to the RMAFC chairman, when the commission carried out an analysis on the revenue loss to the Federation account, due to exchange differential used by the NNPC, 'it was observed that about N12 billion was the exchange rate differential for the period January to August, 2011.'

He noted that 'the operation of the NNPC's domestic crude oil and gas account does not promote transparency and accountability as the NNPC pays revenue from its domestic crude and gas account into its operational accounts and subsequently direct the Central Bank of Nigeria to transfer specific amounts to the Federation Account.

On the payments for export crude oil by the NNPC, the RMAFC boss said the J.P Morgan account where the payments for crude oil and gas are paid are not largely being supervised and constitutionally monitored by the major stakeholders of the federation account, particularly RMAFC.