By Aaron Ossai
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) Hon. Ikenga Ugochinyere has vowed to recover the over N100 billion naira oil revenue that has not been remmitted to the Federal Government over the years.
Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Committee, Hon. Ugochinyere regretted that the Federal Government had lost revenues from various loopholes that the Committee will strive to plug.
He said that early mittance of oil revenues and recovery of unremitted revenues would ve part of what the Committee will focus on in the coming days.
Speaking further, he said “it is also very important that we would let it be known to Nigerians is that we feel the pains that Nigerians are going through due to the removal of the subsidy regime.”
“That regime had to go because it was corrupted and that is why the downstream Committee of the House on Petroleum Recourses would do a comprehensive audit of the PMS subsidy regime.
“The benefiaries of the payment, rendering accounts on all loan transactions, the pre-export fianciaing arrangement and other loan arrangements and other loan arrangements in exchange for crude would be extensively reviewed and investigated.
“The Direct Sales, Direct Purchase, using the crude to bring in the PMS and other value chain associated with them will also be reviewed.
“This Committee would be working closely with our brother Committees in the Upstream, Mainstream, Gas, Petroleum Training Fund and other petroleum related Committees to also help us achieve our set objectives”, he said.
On the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, Hon. Ugochinyere said the implementation of the PIA which has become a major concern to key stakeholders would be reviewed by his Committee.
“What was done before the PIA. What they are doing after the PIA, the assets that used to be national assets before the coming into effect of the PIA, where are they? Who is with them? All these, the Committee would look into to ensure that the intention of the PIA is achieved.
“One of that intention is to ensure that there is energy security and competition in the downstream sector.
“But if you come now, you will see that NNPC is the main importer of PMS. That is not the main intention of the PIA. The PIA had envisaged a situation where numerous downstream operators would have been involved in the importation of PMS.
“That, we would also look into. We intend to use our legislative powers to help solve our nation’s energy problem, create healthy competition in the industry as envisaged by the PIA, create job opportunities and stabilise the Forex market because if today the downstream sector is functioning very effectively there would be no need for us to be running looking for Forex to import PMS which is now creating instability in our Forex market.
“Another issue of concern of recent is that we have started getting reports that most of the modular refineries are ready for operation and there are challenges of domestic crude supply.
“The PIA made provisions for domestic crude supply to those modular and all our local refineries, it has a constitutional provision. It is a law.
“Today, we are receiving messages that most of these modular refineries, even the general refineries like Dangote and so on may not be able to get the required domestic supply they would need.
“This, they said, is caused by most of these pre financing and loan for PMS and crude swap and so on and so forth. This committee is going to look into it to ensure that there is adequate domestic crude supply to the domestic refineries to ensure that we achieve energy security.
“Let me also inform that as you are already aware, the House has received in plenary the NEITI report that have far reaching recommendations both in the downstream, upstream and midstream sector, especially the issue of over $8.5 billion unremitted royalties and other oil revenues and the discrepancies that have to do with the quantity of PMS imported by the NNPCL and what is in the record of NMDPRA.
“The House has set up a Joint Committee that involves the Committees in downstream, upstream and midstream to look into the issue. In the coming weeks, we would start looking into all these issues to resolve them. Posterity would always judge our actions and inactions. So we must do the needful today”, he added.