PPPRA challenges NIETI over industry report

By The Rainbow

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) insists that it did nothing wrong contrary to what was bandied about  by Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NIETI).

The petroleum pricing regulator want the oil industry watchdog to show concrete proof of its culpability in the infractions stated against it by the findings.

It also wants  NEITI to visit the records at the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria to confirm if the said amount was remitted accordingly by the agency.

The Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Reginald Stanley, said in a statement Thursday, challenged the claims of NEITI that PPPRA signed off the audit report.

Stanley said there  was never a time the audit report was `signed-off' by the PPPRA management, challenging NEITI to make a copy of the 'sign-off' public to prove its claim.

NEITI had released its 2009-2011 audit report on the oil and gas sector, recommending that the PPPRA should remit N4.423 billion, arising from 'over-recovery' to the Federation Account.

Stanley said: 'We challenge NEITI to tell Nigerians where the N4.423 billion it claims was warehoused.

'If NEITI is indeed, desirous of efficiently doing its job, we challenge it to go and consult the records at the Central Bank of Nigeria, where the Petroleum Support Fund account is domiciled.

'It should also go a step further by visiting the records at the Federal Ministry of Finance to confirm if certain amount of money as claimed was remitted accordingly or not by the PPPRA.

'To all intents and purposes, it is apparent that NEITI is on a wild-goose chase and self-seeking in its putrid claims.'

Stanley also faulted NEITI's latest claim that 'all the companies and government agencies covered by the audit, including the PPPRA, were fully involved and participated actively in the audit process'.

Stanley cited a section of NEITI's report that claimed that N3.715 billion was yet to be refunded by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and two other marketers, saying that NEITI's report was incongruous with the realities of what was outstanding in over-recovery, 'which is N3.98 billion owed only by the NNPC.

'The total over-recovery due from NNPC within the period was N8.372 billion, out of which the corporation paid N4.391 billion, leaving out a balance of N3.981 billion.

'Contrary to NEITI's report, neither NIPCO nor AMG Petro-Energy Limited has any outstanding payment for settlement. The issues here are about facts and figures and we make no pretentious about all of these.'

Stanley added: 'The total of over-recovery was N14,073,783,779.74 with the following breakdown: over-recovery paid into CBN's account -N6,996,185,316.65; over-recovery net-off by Federal Ministry of Finance -N3,126,587,419.98 while over-recovery outstanding with NNPC stands at N3,981,011,043.08.

'It is clear that the three figures add up to the total over-recovery.

'So the question for NEITI is: where is the N4.423 billion

over-recovery to be refunded by PPPRA to the Federation Account.

'NEITI got it totally wrong and should be bold enough to admit so. This singular incident casts doubt on the accuracy and integrity of NEITI's reports.'

Stanley said that the PPPRA as a responsible government agency, committed to accountability and probity, was always ready to subject  itself to any enquiry, designed to promote public good and full realisation of the transformation agenda of the Federal Government.

He added: 'We hereby appeal to NEITI to desist from further confusing the general public.

'Instead, it should revisit and reconcile available figures from both the PSF and Federation Accounts.

'It is high time NEITI rose to the occasion by providing prompt, timely and accurate records for the benefit of all Nigerians.'