By Dele Sobowale
Note: This article was ready three weeks ago, but the more urgent agenda of presidential election forced me to defer it.
For better or worse we would have elected our president yesterday. Although this notice is being written five days before the election, I congratulate the winner -whoever he may be. Now, I can return to another urgent problem -the IOCs and Us.
Sir, petroleum profit is taxed at 85 per cent, when you add Royalty, Education Tax, and NDDC Levy, total FG takes is 93 cent (sic) of every $1 earned. So much for IOCs’ rape of Nig. In 1985, when S. Arabia was producing 4m barrels/day, Nigeria was 2m/day. Today, SArabia produces 9m bbls/day, Nig. Is 2.2 bbls/day. U can see why PIB should take another 26yrs to pass. Tolu.
One of the worst things the IOCs do to Nigeria is to turn ordinarily articulate Nigerians into enemies of their own countries. Their stock-in-trade is bribery and corruption, not only in Nigeria but worldwide. Tolu typifies the Nigerian working for an IOC – extremely well-paid and brainwashed to defend EVERYTHING the IOC does -right or wrong.
Permit me to digress a little and address three fallacies Tolu presented as “facts”.
First, he deliberately mixed profit with earnings in an attempt to convey the impression that an oil company gives 93 per cent of export revenue to government and only keeps seven per cent. Nothing can be more untruthful. Profit and gross revenue are two different measurements of “earnings.”
As will be demonstrated later, both are controlled by the IOCs in Nigeria -something they dare not do in USA, UK, Russia, and other advanced countries. I, honestly, hope Tolu is not speaking for his employers – whose name is withheld – at least, for now. Second, he includes Education Tax as if this is a burden carried by IOCs alone.
Again, that is the sort of half-truth that the IOCs send their staff out to peddle to the public. Tolu, I am sure, knows that this is a charge made against all companies in the organised private sector, OPS. Third, he gives the impression that Nigeria was once a rival to Saudi Arabia in oil production.
This again is a colossal lie. Right from the time OPEC became a reality, production quotas have been largely imposed. No member-nation could just export any quantity it wants. Quotas, therefore, have nothing to do with PIB. That blackmail, the idea that Nigeria could export half what Saudi exports, if only we hurriedly pass the defective PIB, will simply not work irrespective of the lies that are published to support it. I hope Tolu and his paymasters understand that. Now, let me proceed to present some of the evidence on the rape of our country which Tolu, a Nigerian, is so anxious to conceal.
For years, Nigeria’s relationship with the IOCs had been governed by the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, until 2006, when the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, blew the whistle on the fraudulent activities of the IOCs. At a workshop organised by the World Bank Institute, WBI, in Kaduna, on “Economics and Development Journalism in Nigeria,” NEITI first of all asked then President Obasanjo to probe the discrepancies between oil revenue figures that the oil and gas operators reported and that in the accounts domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
In plain language, what NEITI discovered was the fact that, even on reported shipments, the IOCs were cheating Nigeria by not paying all they owe. They traded with our money. So much for Tolu’s “93 cent” out of $1. But, what they took illegally from us on delayed or withheld payments was petty cash compared to the real looting of our oil treasure.
The NEITI Director of Services, at the time, Mr. Stan Rerri, who spoke on “Reforms in Oil Revenue Management -Local and International Experiences, eiti, neiti etc” had this to say. “We are losing a lot of crude oil due to lack of accurate reporting/calculation. The oil companies determine the prices they pay. The Memorandum of Understanding is a wicked document because it is stated that they are not going to tell Nigerians all what is happening in the industry.”
That in the language of UniJankara means only one thing – the IOCs were engaged in a wayo game with Nigeria as the victim. And, for good measure, Tolu, Mr. Rerri added, “I think we produce much more than the 2.4 million barrels per day as has been alleged. We need to know at the flow station how much oil is being produced and sold. There is no proper records of oil exports at the terminals by the oil companies.
The audit (conducted by NEITI in 2006) has shown a lot of sharp practices.” There is a lot more revelations where those came from, in case there are a few more Tolus ready to defend the barawos called IOCs, they can text me another self-serving rejoinder like the one above. The fact is, the IOCs might as well be called international oil thieves, IOTs, ably supported by their Nigerian collaborators.
Let me close with a true story regarding the way IOCs pollute the minds of Nigerians who work for them. More than 12 years ago, one articulate columnist from the Niger Delta wrote, almost weekly, fiery articles accusing the IOCs of atrocities in the oil- producing states.
Then, he secured appointment with an IOC in the Community Relations Department (the department responsible for distributing bribes). I met the fellow six months after his appointment in Sapele and drew his attention to an article in the papers that day carpeting the IOCs.
The reply was shocking. He not only dismissed the article as “the work of ignorant people who don’t know how much the oil companies do for the communities” but stated emphatically that “Nigerians should show more gratitude to the IOCs.” Three months after, the second critic, also from Niger Delta, secured an appointment with another IOC. In two weeks time he was in the newspapers defending the IOCs and castigating their critics. Money, indeed, makes everything legitimate -including traitors to their countries.
FOR YOUR AMUSEMENT
Your write-up shows you are on the payroll of ACN. I used to respect you (sic) work. Wake up old man.”
That came in after I publicly endorsed Buhari (CPC) and declared Ribadu (ACN) unfit yet for the presidency. Someone who reads newspapers with his eyes closed advising me to wake up!!!
You forgot the cabal because your ethnocentric disposition would not allow you to accommodate a minority tribe…Atiku is never mentioned as part of OBJ disaster..”
That too came from Eket after I wrote as follows: “Atiku is a friend, but even he would not have received my vote if he is the PDP candidate.” And, there was another one who asked if my problem was with PDP or Jonathan. That was after it was categorically stated that “no PDP candidate will receive my vote -even if he was my twin-brother.” The UniJankara will be offering a three months holiday course in understanding simple English for adults. It’s free; you can trust me. Free transport from and back to Eket too!