Shock As End Of Year Report Names Buhari In Alleged Crude Oil Scandal  ‎

By Joshua Amaugo December 31, 2016 08:28

Shock As End Of Year Report Names Buhari In Alleged Crude Oil Scandal  ‎

At a time many have perceived President Muhammadu Buhari, as a saint capable of nipping corruption in the bud, emerging reports from the Natural Resource Governance Institute, NRGI, have revealed how the President, who happens to be the Minister of Petroleum Resources, withheld billions of oil revenues from government account.

The report, tagged: “NNPC still holds blank check”, disclosed that within the first 6 months of the Buhari administration, the NNPC withheld over $4.2 billion, representing about N824.7 billion, out of a total of $6.3 billion representing N1.24 trillion revenues, realized from crude oil sales, in the second half of 2015.

The money withheld, represents about 66 percent of the total revenue; $1.4 billion earnings from Nigeria’s regular crude oil exports for the period; $3.4 billion from domestic crude oil sales; and $1.5 billion from oil sold from the Corporation’s upstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, oil fields.

The report decried that despite Buhari’s pledged to sanitize the oil industry, having nominated himself as the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources, only $2.1 billion, representing about N413.7 billion, was transferred to the Federation Account.

The report added, that the unremitted revenues for the 6 months, was about 14 percent more than the amount withheld by the Corporation, under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, in the first half of 2015, and about 12 percent higher than the share withheld in 2013, and 2014.

The figure of unremitted oil revenues in 2015, contrasted sharply with the 2005 figures, which showed the NNPC remitted about 68 percent of its total oil sale earnings to the Federation Account, and kept only 32 percent that year.

While part of the withheld funds was used for servicing Nigeria’s share of the joint venture operating obligations, the NNPC, did not fully explain what the other retained revenues from domestic crude and NPDC oil sales were used for.

In a nutshell, the report revealed, that despite the on-going reforms in the oil sector, the NNPC under the present administration, was still retaining a major share of oil sale earnings, and spending at will.

“Until government establishes a clear, legally enforceable rule, governing which revenues NNPC can keep, and how they can be spent, oil sector corruption and waste could return to their prior devastating levels, once the President (Buhari) leaves, or prices rise,” the report noted.

Encouraging government to carry out its reform plans for the oil sector, the Natural Resource Governance Institute, NRGI, stressed the need for the NNPC, to adopt new financial controls and transparency measures for its subsidiaries, especially bordering on the several billion revenues retained each year from NPDC operations, and its oil trading and marketing subsidiaries.

The Institute also, recommended the immediate replacement of 445,000 barrels per day crude oil allocation, both for domestic refining, with a fit-for-purpose mechanism for supplies to the country’s 4 refineries.