The Senate has directed the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) to investigate the claim by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) of remitting the sum of $18,323,032,261.03 ($18.3billion), as dividends to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), between 2004 and 2019.
The chairman, Joint Senate Committee on Finance and National Planning, Senator Solomon Adeola, (APC, Lagos West), conveyed the Committee’s directive to the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris, at the 5-day interactive session on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
The directive followed the financial report presented by NLNG’s General Manager (External Relations and Sustainable Development), Mrs. Eyono Fatai-William, at the interactive session, which ended yesterday.
The Accountant-General was specifically mandated to verify, among other things, if the amount was actually remitted to NNPC, actual amount remitted to the Federation Account afterwards, deduction(s) by NNPC, amount deducted and who authorised the deduction(s), and the exchange rate for the amount that was remitted over the years in review.
Fatai-William had presented a financial report of the company from 1999 to 2019, indicating that NLNG had paid a dividend of over $18billion to the Federal Government between 2004 and 2019.
She stressed that NLNG was committed to a culture of transparency and integrity.
She also revealed that the NLNG also remitted $9bn in taxes to the Federal Government from 2011 to date, while N15bn was remitted for Field Gas, to the NNPC since inception of the company.
She gave the breakdown of the $18bn remitted as dividends within the last 16 years to include: $278,860,715.00 for 2004; $57,425460.17 for 2005; $332,979,540.83 for 2006; $842,956,858.80 for 2007; $2,613,170,000.00 for 2008 $848,680,000.00 for 2009; and $1,401,400,000.00 for 2010.
Other remittances were: $2,509,780,000.00 for 2011; $2,768,990.00 for 2012; $1,260,704,340.00 for 2013; $1,389,908,436.93 for 2014; $1,043,764,965.12 for 2015; $356,126,898.440 for 2016; $798,140,840.45 for 2017; $904,498,502.96 for 2018; and $915,645,702.33 for 2019.
When Adeola inquired from the Accountant-General if he can confirm the payment claim by NLNG of the dividends to the Federation Account, Idris said it was difficult to determine, with any certainty immediately, as the dividends are usually paid to NNPC, which is the representative of Nigeria on the company.
Senator Adeola, therefore, directed the Accountant-General to investigate the payments and report back to the Senate in two weeks.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has about 53% shareholding in NLNG Limited, through the NNPC.