By Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the loss of $21 billion, about N7.6 trillion crude oil revenue to International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country.
To this end, the House resolved to setup an Ad-hoc committee to investigate the matter and report back within four weeks for further legislative inputs.
The resolution followed the consideration and adoption of a motion under matters of urgent public importance, moved by Rep Sunday Marshall Katung (PDP, Kaduna), urging the House to ascertain the wherabouts of billion of dollars of oil revenue unaccounted for.
The committee is also expected to investigate the operation of the Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (PSC) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as require the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu to provide details of financial transactions between the NNPC and the IOCs during the period when the losses occurred.
The panel, which was given six weeks to turn in its report, is also to review the PSC and the Joint Venture and other relevant agreements with a view to regularising all the anomalies that have led to the loss of revenue.
Rep Katung while leading the debate pointed out that the minister of state for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu had while briefing newsmen last year December, revealed that the nation lost about $21billion (N7.6 trillion) to IOCs operating in the country due to non-implementation of the PSC.
The lawmaker also quoted the Minister as saying that the nation lost this colossal sum because the federal government failed to act, amongst other things.
He said: “in 2013, although, there was a notice to oil companies that government would take steps to correct this anomaly, government did not carry it through in terms of going to the Federal Executive Council to get approval”.
He lamented that these acts of negligence, omission, incompetence, if not outright collusion and conspiracy with a view, possibly, to corrupting have been perpetrated over such a long period of time when the natiomn has had well paid legal and technical experts in place.
Katung also bemaoned the development, describing it as a sad reminder of how the wealth of the nation end up in foreign land while her economy and the lot of her citizens continue to dwindle “as is evidenced by, amongst others, her economic recession and the pervasive and acute poverty in the country”.
Katund urged the National Assembly to come to the rescue the nation in the interest of the common man and take adequate measures to bring the sorry situation to a halt, adding that these reckless incidents have resulted in the massive depletion of the nation resources and its revenue.