Following findings of a research that showed citizens poor interaction with the published Audited Financial Statements (AFS) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), extractive 360 with support from Facility for Oil Sector Transformation (FOSTER) organized a 1-day workshop for journalists recently.
The workshop which held at Owerri, Imo state, had in attendance finance/economy and energy sector journalists. It was aimed at equipping journalist’s with the capacity to independently engage, interrogate and interpret data contained in the NNPC financial audit reports.
Recall that in June 2020, the NNPC made history with the publication of its first ever AFS for the year ended December 31, 2018, after 43 years of its operation, which was followed by the 2019 AFS released in October same year.
cross section of participants at the workshop
The workshop helped to provide participants with more insights needed to enrich reports about how the corporation has managed the resources it holds in trust for Nigerians, as revealed in the audit reports.
In his presentation, titled ‘NNPC AFS and Imperative for Accountability in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Sector’, Finance Analyst, Mr.Thomas Ukoyor, while commending the NNPC for yielding to advocacy on transparency regarding its operations and publishing its AFS after 43 years of operations, however, noted that what was more critical was how journalists interpret and report data contained in the AFS for the enlightenment of Nigerians.
He said: “What is more critical is how the information contained in the AFS is reported. The angle which the media takes in devolving the information is equally as important as the report itself, in other words, is the media reporting from the angle of the NNPC or reporting for the enlightenment of Nigerians.”
He explained that presentations of AFS usually come in form that many Nigerians are unable to understand, which places a burden on journalists to interpret and make meaning out of it for the Nigerian public.
He said the concept of financial statement analysis helps in identifying the financial strength or weakness of the NNPC, adding that morals, ethics and governance were also critical aspects of accountability which can be deduced from the AFS.
participants at the workshop
Also in his presentation, titled ‘Unbundling the NNPC 2018/2019 AFS Report – Interrogating the Corporations year-on-year performance’, Financial Audit Expert, Mr Nongomin Joshua, noted that the NNPC’s 2018 and 2019 AFCs raised a going concern issues.
The Corporation he said made a net liability loss, with the NNPC group making a loss of N1.8 billion, while NNPC as a corporation netted a huge loss of over N107.8 billion.
Using raw data from the AFS, Nongomin explained that the total losses incurred by the Group were more than the total revenue within the years in review.
He reiterated that the data from the AFS showed that all the refineries incurred huge losses within the period under review, while the liquidity analysis also showed a very weak position for the NNPC group.
“Although some of the subsidiaries are doing okay, these gains are however overshadowed by huge losses from the poor performing ones. In the same vein, the solvency and profitability analysis show poor rating for the NNPC group,” Nongomin said.