ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – A Joint Committee set up by the Senate to investigate the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Joint Venture cash call obligations from 2011 to 2015 has swung into action.
The investigation is coming on the heels of the debate and adoption of a motion by the Senate on Wednesday, 13th April, 2016 on the urgent need for effective implementation of the Joint Venture Cash Calls obligations by NNPC in accordance with various Appropriation Acts of the National Assembly and pursuant to Sections 88 and 89 of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 as amended.
The Joint committee comprising committees on Gas, Petroleum Upstream, Finance and Appropriation has already requested organisations and the public to submit written memoranda before the end of July 2016 on the operations of NNPC Joint Venture Cash Call obligations from 2011 to 2015.
The committee, chaired by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas Resources, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (Akwa Ibom North East) is expected to hold an investigative hearing on the matter.
Some of the organisations expected to submit memoranda at the investigative hearing include, among others, the Nigerian Extractive industry and Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Federal Ministry of Finance and the Petroleum Club. Others include Forum of State Commissioners of Finance, Oil and Gas Industry Stakeholders and interested parties.
The Committee had at its inaugural meeting last month mapped out the scope and framework for the investigations.
Speaking at the meeting, chairman of the committee, Senator Bassey Albert, hinted that the investigations would be guided by Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution as well as provisions of the various Appropriation Acts passed by the National Assembly and signed into law by the president.
According to Senator Albert, the issue of joint venture cash call was as a result of Appropriation Acts passed by the National Assembly, noting that any bill passed by the National Assembly and signed into law by the president becomes the law of the Federation. “So an infraction of such law is a serious issue”, he said, adding: “the framework and scope for the investigations into the cash call operations will be taken from the point of view of provisions of the annual budgets passed by the National Assembly”.
Senator Albert informed members of the committee that “we need to come up with recommendations that will lead to a better management of cash calls by NNPC”.
Also speaking at the meeting, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Senator Tayo Alaosaodura described the issue of cash call arrears as a “mystery that must be unravelled”.
The Chairman, Appropriation Committee, Senator Danjuma Goje, noted that this is the right time for government to get to the root of the matter knowing the turbulence in the oil market. He called on other stakeholders to cooperate to solve this problem facing the country’s oil and gas sector.
The investigation into the cash call operations by NNPC is sequel to the failure of the corporation to meet its joint venture cash call obligations, put at over $7 billion.