NIGERIA loses an estimated $1 billion or about N305 billion in revenue every year due to the falsification of gas flare data to cut down on payment of penalties, Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for Petroleum Resources, has revealed.
Kachikwu, who spoke on Tuesday, December 13, in Abuja at a gas competence seminar with the theme ‘Towards ending gas flaring and unlocking gas potential in Nigeria,’ disclosed that the federal government would set up an independent tracking mechanism in 2017 to ascertain the actual volume of gas that was flared in the country.
“My take is that we lose over half a billion to a billion of government revenue looking at the basis of the present penalties position. Nobody is effectively monitoring the volume, so when you actually go for the real effect of what is flared, in terms of statistics, it is much higher than those figures. However, we must appreciate the efforts that have been made in the past to increase penalties, among others,” the minister said.
Besides, he said there is an urgent need for the country to devise a policy that would be targeted at eliminating gas flaring. “Beginning next year, we will be putting up an independent tracking mechanism, not relying on figures from the IOCs and from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to find out what really is the flare volume. My feeling is that there is a lot of management of those figures to suit the cap of the penalties that are being charged,” Kachikwu said.
In a related development, the Senate on Tuesday, December 13, started an investigation into an alleged non-remittance of $5.6 billion by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, one of its subsidiaries.
Adopting a motion sponsored by Dino Melaye (APC- Kogi West), the Senate alleged that from 2013 to date, the NPDC has continued to lift crude oil from divested wells OML 61, 62 and 63 worth over $3.487billion without remitting the money to the Federation Account.
The red-carpet chamber, therefore, mandated its committees on Petroleum Upstream and Finance to investigate the allegation with a view to recovering the alleged unremitted funds.
The senators also mandated the NNPC and NPDC to immediately remit monies obtained on behalf of the federal government to the Federation Account upon lifting.
After passing the motion, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Senate president, said: “We must put an end to this level of misappropriation and recklessness. This must stop. I believe that this committee has a duty to ensure that it works very hard to get to the bottom of this. Even more worrisome is the fact that they did it in the last administration and now they are carrying out the same practice again. We must put an end to this, we cannot continue with a situation where some people are sabotaging the efforts to fight corruption.”
— Dec 14, 2016 @ 14:40 GMT