… Dares Senate To Audit At ‘Their Own Cost’
Following the request of Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Lagos West), demanding hardcopy evidence from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to vindicate itself from the alleged missing 48 million crude oil barrels, the NNPC has challenged the Senate to go ahead with the forensic audit on the claim, at its own cost
The issues of missing barrels of crude oil and non-approval of yearly budget of the corporation came up during an interactive session officials between the NNPC and the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning.
According to the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Mr. Mele Kyari, the only obtainable evidence would be the records of ships that sailed out of the Nigerian waters, as all had clearance from the Nigerian Navy and the Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
He said: “No ship leaves the country without clearance from the appropriate unit of the Nigerian Navy, and there is no way any ship with such alleged stolen crude could escape from the Nigerian shore.
“As far as the NNPC is concerned, no barrel of crude oil is missing as falsely alleged and we are very ready to be investigated over it in the form of commissioning a forensic audit by the National Assembly at its own cost,” the corporation said.
Ajiya insisted that the yearly budget of the corporation is scrutinised and approved by the lawmakers through consideration and passage of the MTEF and FSP which contain revenue projections of the agency, among other ones.
“Proposals such as our revenue projections, cost of operations are well stated in all MTEF/FSP documents made available to the National Assembly for consideration and approval, the basis upon which the nation’s budget is passed and signed into law, meaning that it is you (National Assembly) that approves our yearly budget,” he maintained.
Kyari further explained that the $21per barrel production cost the corporation was incurring on each barrel of crude oil would soon be reduced to $13 per barrel in an effort to drastically minimise production cost.
On the $40 per barrel projected as oil price benchmark for the N12.6trillion 2021 budget, the NNPC official said the projection was determined from available variables .
“Nobody can determine what oil price will be tomorrow, which informs pessimistic thinking as far as such a parameter is concerned,” he said.