The Senate, on Tuesday, expressed outrage at the level of huge sums of national revenue lost from time to time by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). They were particularly irked by the case in which one of corporation’s subsidiaries committed a whopping sum of $9million for transfer of staff, while spending the sum of $2million to service staff cars just within a fiscal year.
The Chairman of the committee on Upstream, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, who was visibly angered by the alleged squandering of national funds by the NNPC said he had wished that the entire bunch of the management be dispensed with immediately while a more financially prudent and disciplined new team be put in place.
Demonstrating anger on the huge figures used at every point in time to execute projects by the NNPC management, Alasoadura averred: “I wish I were a military head of state. I will just pack all of you managers, take you to the bar beach and do the needful. Then a new set of managers will continue from there.”
The Senate Committee chairman also complained about the cost of production of a barrel of crude oil in Nigeria, which he described as highly prohibitive at $27, the highest, according to him, in the world.
Representatives of a subsidiary of NNPC, the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), were in attendance at the budget defense of the agency when Alasoadura made his outburst. The NAPIMS told the lawmakers that its total budget for 2016 was $168 million, stating that it had used the sum of $2 million on vehicles maintenance within the fiscal year.
The agency represented by its general manager, Engr. Catherine Ngozi Iheme, put the budget on lump sum, as capital expenditure and operating expenditure, a development which angered the committee.
Iheme said, “on staff transfers, we are part of the NNPC group and sometimes you have transfer of staff in and out of NAPIMS and the process costs $9million.”
The committee however demanded for the details of the $168 million which the agency promised to make available during its next meeting with the Senators.
The Senate committee also raised issues over the exchange rate used by the agency in its 2016 budget.
Iheme has told the committee that transactions by the agency in 2016 was based on an exchange rate of N197 to $1, although the exchange rate suddenly shot up to N305 to $1 shortly after it prepared its budget.
Senators who were confused by the double exchange rates used by the NNPC subsidiary had sought clarifications on which exchange rate it had used on monthly basis for transactions since exchange rates in Nigeria had been unstable for quite some time.