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P&ID: We’ll not pay $9.6BN fine, petroleum ministry tells Reps
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, on Thursday, said the Federal government will not pay $9.6billion judgment fine to Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID).
A British Court judgment had slammed the fine on the Federal government in favour of the Virgin Islands-registered company, earlier this year.
A contract required the Nigerian government to pay $300 million for P&ID to set up a way to turn a dirty form of natural gas burned off during oil production into electricity for use by local governments.
The P&ID deal was said to have been sealed in 2012 amid mutual recriminations and claims of fraud, while the $9.6 billion was built up through accrued interest payments.
While defending the budget of the Ministry before a joint committee of the National Assembly on Petroleum Resources that sat at the House of Representatives wing yesterday, Mr Sylva said in response to a question on the case, that “The P& ID is fraudulent and Nigeria will not pay” the fine.
He also told the Joint Committee headed by Sen. Bassey Akpan (Akwa Ibom-PDP), that the Ministry was determined to fix all the refineries in the country, before 2023.
“All Refineries will be functional by the end of this dispensation”, he assured.
The Minister also disclosed that Bauchi State “will definitely be an oil-producing state in a few years, because the reserves there, are in commercial quantities”, but said, “I don’t know yet if Anambra is a prospective oil or gas basin, but I will find out”.
The Ministry had a few days ago, announced the discovery of oil in the Northeast.
The Minister also assured that “more jobs will come on stream, during this dispensation. I can assure you that a lot will begin to happen, during this dispensation”.
He pleaded with the National Assembly, to provide adequate funding for the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to enable the downstream-policing agency, to check sharp practices in the industry.
He said for the DPR to be everywhere, its operations must be well funded in the 2020 budget, which is expected to be approved and passed for President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent in December.
“For DPR to be everywhere, they must be well funded. They police the downstream sector, including the ports, so I will plead for adequate funding for them”, he said.
He also assured that the ministry will work with security agencies to make sure pipeline vandalism is curtailed.
Though details of the Budget proposal for the Ministry are yet to be made available, about N450billion has been earmarked for subsidy payment in 2020.
Chairman of the joint committee on Petroleum Resources, Sen. Bassey Akpan on his part, also assured the Ministry, that the Senate and the House of Representatives, are committed to supporting the president in his efforts in the oil and gas sector.
The senators, however, expressed worries that DPR is “grossly understaffed”.
The Committee also frowned at the failure of DPR, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other agencies in the Ministry to appear before the committee.
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