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NNPC ‘Not Tax Agency’

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday said the collection of taxes and other cash due to the Federal Government in the oil and gas industry was not its responsibility.

Speaking while receiving the Chairman and members, Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property at the NNPC Towers in Abuja, its Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, said the oil firm  had nothing to hide as it stood to gain a lot by being transparent in all its areas of operation.

He also made clarification on the alleged underpayment of lease renewal fee on Oil Mining Lease (OML) 67, 68, and 70 by ExxonMobil.

On alleged non-remittances by some oil companies operating in the country, the NNPC boss said it was the responsibility of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to collect taxes and royalties from oil companies, including those on Joint Venture (JV) and Production Sharing Contract (PSC) arrangement.

Kyari said the NNPC would provide the necessary support to the agencies concerned in that regard though it has no legal obligation to do so.  “As an enabler organisation, we will support them because we see our roles beyond our immediate responsibility,” he said.

While affirming the Corporation’s commitment to transparency and accountability, Kyari said the Corporation is one of the most accountable public institutions in the country, saying ‘’this is the only company that publishes its operations and financial reports monthly. I’m not aware of any company that does that in the world.”

He said: “Every member of our management shares the vision of Mr. President that government’s institutions must be accountable to all Nigerians. We know that we will gain more by being more transparent. We have nothing to hide.”

Responding to the issues raised by the Panel on the alleged  underpayment of lease renewal fees on Oil Mining Lease (OMLs) 67, 68, and 70 by ExxonMobil, Kyari said the company paid $600million which was their equity contribution of 40 per cent of the Joint venture agreement after which NNPC was to pay the remaining 60 per cent but it became unnecessary as it represented the government.

“Ordinarily, NNPC would have contributed the balance of 60 per cent of the amount which literally meant government paying monies to itself. There was no need for that,”Kyari explained.

On alleged breach of government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy, the GMD said the NNPC has no secret account, insisting that “there is no single account NNPC is operating that is unknown to the Federal Government. “Any account(s) outside the TSA platform are partner accounts which we have obtained due approvals from the government,’’ he said.

Kyari, who observed that all monies belonging to the corporation were domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), added that the Corporation’s account managers remain the CBN and the Accountant-General of the Federation.

Shedding more light on the alleged non-remittances of taxes and royalties by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), NNPC’s upstream arm,  Kyari stated there were outstanding payments which arose as a result of the pillage that occurred before 2015.

The corporation disclosed this in a statement yesterday.

He, however, assured the Panel that this administration has made concerted efforts to reconcile every payment due to the federation on taxes and royalties.

“The only outstanding payment is the $600million and we have a pre-payment plan with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) such that by mid-2020, we will have money left to be paid,” he said.