The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Sunday said it has legal rights of withdrawals from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Dividend Account without recourse to National Assembly appropriation.
The Corporation in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said there was nothing illegitimate about the withdrawals made from the account so far.
The Senate is currently probing alleged illegal withdrawal from the NLNG dividend account by the NNPC.
NNPC in the release clarified that the ongoing Senate probe was not about missing money as was being insinuated in some quarters, but rather an investigation into whether NNPC acted legally in withdrawing the sum of $1.05bn from the NLNG Dividend Account to support fuel importation.
According to Ughamadu, the clarification was made by the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazaq.
Backing up its position, the NNPC CFO said that relevant extant laws such as the Appropriation Act 2018, defines revenue from NNPC as net of cost, indicating that NNPC has the right to defray the cost of its operations from earnings.
He also cited the NLNG Act which explicitly provides that NNPC could defray its cost from the dividends, as one of the legal grounds relied upon for the expenditure without recourse to appropriation by the National Assembly.
Expatiating further on the matter, Mr. Abdulrazaq, according to the release, cited the case instituted by some state governments in 1999 seeking the interpretation of revenue on account of their contention that all accruals from oil and gas operations amount to revenue and therefore, should be swept into the Federation Account.
The ruling on that case by the Supreme Court in 2002, according to him, was in tandem with NNPC’s position that revenue is accruals net of cost.
“We have provided the legal authority on which we rely to use funds from the NLNG Dividend Account to the Senate. We believe they will reason with us. But if need be, we will seek legal opinion on it”, the CFO stated.
On fuel supply and efforts to ensure zero-scarcity throughout the end of year festivities and beyond, the CFO disclosed that NNPC has 2.6 billion litres of premium motor spirit (petrol) in offshore and onshore storage that could last for 52 days at 50 million litres per day consumption.