By Musa Baba Adamu
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has challenged the National Assembly to prove its allegation of missing 48mbp of crude oil.
It described the allegation as “unfounded and total falsehood” requesting the Lawmakers the cause a forensic audit the ascertain the veracity or otherwise of its allegation.
It also declared that contrary to the widely held belief in the public, its annual budget was approved by the National Assembly.
This declarations were made by the Group Managing Director (GMD), of NNPC, Mele Kyari.
The Senate had alleged missing barrels of crude oil and accused the Corporation of unapproved yearly budget during an interactive session officials of NNPC with the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning on projected revenues estimated in the 2021 – 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Frame work and Fiscal Strategy Paper ( FSP).
Chairman of the joint Committee, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola ( APC Lagos West), had in taking up the oil Corporation over the alleged missing barrels of oil , demanded for proven evidence and not verbal denial as did by NNPC through media advertorials .
But, the NNPC GMD, represented by the Chief Finance Officer , Umar Ajiya, the NNPC GMD, said there was no evidence in knocking off the claim than the fact that there were no records of ships that sailed out of the Nigerian waters with such contrabands and clearance from the Nigerian Navy and Directorate of Petroleum and Resources ( DPR).
He said: “No ship leaves the country without clearance from the appropriate unit of the Nigerian Navy and there is no way any ship with such alleged stolen crude could escape from the Nigeria shore.
“As far as the NNPC is concerned , no barrel of crude oil is missing as falsely alleged and very ready to be investigated over it inform of commissioning of a forensic audit by the National Assembly at its own cost.”
He also told the Lawmakers that the yearly budget of the Corporation was scrutinised and approved by them through consideration and passage of MTEF and FSP which contains revenue projections of the agency along with those of the other ones
“Proposals such as our revenue projections , cost of operations are well stated in all MTEF/FSP documents made available to National Assembly for consideration and approval , the basis upon which the Nation’s budget is passed and signed into law ,meaning that it is you ( National Assembly) , that approves our yearly budget.”
According to him, the current GMD of NNPC is a change agent and the corporation under him , has nothing to hide.
He explained further that the $21per barrel production cost the corporation is incurring on each barrel of crude oil , will soon be reduced to $13 per barrel in drastically minimizing production cost .
On the $40 per barrel projected as oil price benchmark for the N12.6trillion 2021 budget ,the NNPC CFO said the projection was arrived at, based on available variables .“ Nobody can determine what oil price will be tomorrow , which informs pessimistic thinking as far as such a parameter is concerned.”