By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – THE Senate Thursday asked the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPTIMS to account for $ 246m dollars which forms the balance from the 2016 budget set aside by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of Nigeria, NNPC for gas infrastructure.
According to the Senate, the NNPC had released a total of four hundred and forty six Million Dollars to NAPTIMS for the development of gas infrastructure in 2016, just as only $132 million dollars was extended.
This was uncovered the outstanding amount when the Group Managing Director of NAPTIMS, Dafe Sejebor appeared before the Senate joint committees on Gas Petroleum, Upstream, Downstream and Gas during the 2017 budget Defence of the NNPC’ s Upstream sector in Abuja.
The Joint committees asked NAPTIMS to provide details of the outstanding amount in the next sitting for proper clarification to approve the 2017 budget proposal of the NNPC’s Subsidiary.
NAPTIMS is the Upstream and Corporate Services Unit, CSU in the Exploration and Production Directorate of the NNPC.
Speaking on Thursday, Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas Resouces, Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, PDP, Akwa Ibom North East took as swipe at the company for unilaterally moving funds from one budgetary subhead to another subhead without recourse to the National Assembly, said, “It is the constitutional responsibility of the National Assembly to vire funds from one subhead in the budget to another. So it is wrong for the company to have moved funds meant for gas infrastructure projects to another subhead.”
Accusing the company of abuse of due process when it presented its 2016 budget performance to the committee, Senator reminded the company that a budgetary balance of $1.8 billion was carried over from 2015 to 2016, while the sum of $ 3.8 billion was provided for in 2016 out of which it spent $4.2 billion leaving a huge balance, adding that $ 422 million was allocated in the 2016 Budget for gas infrastructure projects out of which it spent $ 318 million.
Asked to explain the reason for the debit balance in view of information to the contrary, Engr. Dafe Sejebor said that the budgetary balance was used to settle outstanding joint venture commitments.
The committee then ordered the company to furnish it with details of shortfalls of funds allocated for gas infrastructure projects.
In line with the decision of the Honourable minister of state for petroleum to ensure cost efficiency in the budgetary allocations in the oil and gas sector, the committee said it would allocate $12 billion to the Gas Industrial park project while it will not support any allocation to the Brass LNG.
Efforts by Dafe Sejebor to convince the Lawmakers that due process was followed in the expenditure of cash proved abortive.