Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on Thursday denied media report that 48million barrels of crude oil was missing in the country.
This is even as it challenges the Senate to carry out a forensic audit on the claim at its own cost, if it so wishes just as it declared that the National Assembly approves the corporation budget on yearly basis.
Chairman of the Senate joint Committees on Finance, and National Planning, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC Lagos West), had raised the issues of the alleged missing barrels of crude oil and unapproved yearly budget of the corporation during the ongoing interactive session with heads of ministries, departments and agencies of the federal government on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, MTEF/FSP.
Adeola demanded for proven evidence and not verbal denial as did by NNPC through media advertorials.
But the Group Managing Director, GMD of NNPC, Mele Kyari represented by the Chief Finance Officer, CFO, Umar Ajiya, in his response, 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.
“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 shores
“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 said.
The CFO also put it to the federal lawmakers that the yearly budget of the corporation is scrutinised and approved by them through consideration and passage of MTEF/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,” he explained.
According to him, the current GMD of NNPC is a change agent and the corporation under him, has nothing to hide.
Ajiya explained further that the $21 per 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,” he said.
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