HOUSE of Representatives, yesterday, queried the Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR) over 329,420,319 barrels of crude oil alleged to be missing.
The House Ad-hoc Committee on Oil Theft said the DPR could not account for the crude valued at over $20 billion between 2005 and 2012. Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Peter Akpatason, at an investigative hearing organised by the panel said the agency would have to account for the “missing oil.”
Akpatason said: “The effects of crude oil theft cannot be over emphasised, and
this has lasted for too long. As patriots, it is our collective responsibility to see to the end of this stealing. The Adhoc Committee has identified the key role DPR has as the agency of government in the sector, hence your re-invitation today to enable us work together and come up with a common front on ways to tackle this matter; if not completely put to an end to it, reduce it to its barest minimum.
“DPR is the agency of government saddled with the responsibility of monitoring crude oil production and lifting. The Committee requested and obtained schedules of crude oil produced and lifting between 2005 to 2019. Forensic analysis of the data revealed a very wide margin between what was reported produced and what was lifted.
‘Between 2005 and 2012, DPR reported production of 1,746,621,167 barrels from four sampled oil terminals of Escravos, Bonny, Forcados and Bonga. Out of this production volumes, only 1,417,200,848 barrels were accounted for as having been lifted officially. A whopping volume of 329,420,319 barrels, valued at over $20 billion, could not be accounted for. The same trend of infractions was observed in the years 2016-2019. The committee through the analysis of submissions to it has raised issues requiring clarifications from DPR. The issues range from unprocessed crude oil, suspected stolen/diverted crude oil, discrepancies in records, use of inappropriate devices and technologies for measurement and gauging despite huge budgetary provisions,” he said.
However, Director/Chief Executive Officer of DPR, Mr. Sarki Auwalu, in his response, explained that most of the crude oil thefts usually occur from land terminals.
“I will like to use this opportunity to give a brief on how we will account for hydrocarbon in this nation. I think that will provide a better view for this committee as well as Nigerians. The process starts well because every crude oil comes from well, and you cannot drill a well without knowing the capacity of that well to produce. Most of the thefts, they are coming from land terminals because the land producers have to use pipelines to transport the crude into the terminals for export. In the process, you have a lot of third party interference in which those points of theft were there; small volumes that account for the larger volume are being taken and they are being stolen.”
•Uncovers N5bn waiver to China Harbour
The house, yesterday, also said it has uncovered over N5 billion waiver granted to China Harbour on importation of construction materials. Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Wole Oke, who disclosed said this is regardless of the country’s commitment to the repayment of multi-billion dollar loans obtained from china.
Oke, while speaking at an investigative hearing into the audit query issued by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (oAuGF) against Nigeria Customs Service (NSC), expressed displeasure that regulatory agencies could approve such waivers in breach of due process and extant financial regulations to the detriment of the country.
“Like in the case of China Harbour, China Harbour got a contract in Nigeria through contract financing and then you are claiming duty waiver of over N5 billion on items and materials that are available in Nigeria. They are importing them; they kill local industries, you are injuring us from both ends. We just have to resolve that the MD of China Harbour should appear. All they are trying to do is to cover-up, when it comes to capital flight they don’t mind, but when it comes to accountability they are running away. And those who granted the duty waiver, we must ask them and that’s why we invited the Ministry of
Finance to cause appearance to come and defend the duty waiver they gave to you.“
“Federation Account is nose-diving and they (oAuGF) asked us that, why are we not filing the revenue profile of Customs? They said it should be audited, that’s what they said. And so we called Customs and Customs came and presented the list. There are a lot of things like tax avoidance, tax avoidance is lawful but we are only checking the abuses.
“So that is what we are doing in a situation where you are based in Nigeria, import from France for example and the documents emanate from Mauritius! So all we want to establish is the goods from the manufacturer, is it the same pricing that is comes with from the manufacturer?”
The lawmaker also noted that “some multinational companies indulge in the abuse of tax avoidance, transfer service schemes and they use that to undermine revenue generation in Nigeria.”
“So some of these companies float subsidiaries in tax haven countries and some of these companies are 100 per cent owned by them; so they operate through their subsidiaries. The prices at which they buy from the manufacturers are not what is contained in the shipping documents. So by doing, they can even cut down 50 per cent of duty that they ought to have paid to Nigeria. And that is the issue the Auditor General is raising that collections by Nigeria Customs, collections by FIRS, remittance by DPR and NNPC is nose-diving and that we should check it.”