By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
ABUJA—State governments, weekend, insisted on transparency in the remittance of oil revenues by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, into the Federation Account.
Chairman, Forum of Finance Commissioners, Mr. Mahmood Yunusa, told journalists in Abuja that NNPC could not just remit whatever amount that pleased it into the federation account, as the modality for calculating monthly oil revenue was clear.
According to him, the collection of oil royalty and Petroleum Profit Tax, PPT, will be returned to the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and the Federal Inland revenue Service, FIRS, respectively.
He said: “Part of the process of strengthening the system will be to take the collection and remittance of royalty from NNPC to the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, while the collection and remittance of PPT will also be returned to the FIRS in line with the law.
“This is part of the process that we are trying to strengthen and we are trying to adopt. It is part of the law under oil and gas, that all royalties should be collected and remitted to the Federation Account by the DPR, it is DPR’s responsibility.
“Before DPR collects that royalty, it has to make sure that the actual amount that is supposed to be remitted is remitted. If it is under-remitted, the DPR will be held responsible for the shortfall and I know DPR would not want to be responsible for such a shortage.
“If you are supposed to remit X billion of naira, and you remit B billion of naira to them, they won’t accept because it is under-remitted. The royalty is calculated and paid based on the oil lifted.
“The same thing with PPT, the NNPC has to remit the same amount that has to be remitted to FIRS, if not the FIRS will not accept because they would not want to be responsible for the shortfall or under remittance that ordinarily they shouldn’t be responsible for.
‘’So that will balance the revenue collecting system. There should be a kind of check and balance.”
According to Yunusa, a joint session that will involve the Governors’ Forum, Ministry of Finance, top management of the NNPC and Forum of Finance Commissioners has been planned, with a view to putting an end to the impasse.
On the decision to hire forensic auditors to investigate remittances by the NNPC into the Federation Account, Yunusa said: “The engagement of the consultant is on course, we will sort all these issues out.”
‘’NNPC, as I have said, is the major contributor of revenue but that does not mean we should take our eyes off other revenue generating agencies such as the Customs, FIRS, DPR and the non-mineral sector. We want to take these issues one after the other, with a view to solving them entirely.”
The chairman noted a what described as a sharp drop in FIRS’s May and June collections which had not been explained and that FAAC would subsequently demand explanations from the agency.
“It is not just NNPC, if Customs is not doing well, we will engage them. Every revenue generating agency has a target, and we will apply the necessary rules to ensure that we take value for why every revenue generating agency was established,” Yunusa said.