The Senate has launched investigation into the activities of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Department of Petroleum Resources over crude oil exports account.
The probe followed a motion on the need to investigate Pre-Shipment Inspection of export activities in Nigeria with respect to Non-Repatriation of crude oil export proceeds in line with PSiE Act Cap P26 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The motion was sponsored by 22 senators led by Senator Abubakar Yusuf (Taraba Central).
The Pre-shipment Inspection of Export is the inspection of goods (oil and non-oil) in Nigeria prior to the shipment of those goods outside Nigeria as provided under the Preshipment Inspection of Export Act, Cap P26 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
According Yusuf, the period prior to the Preshipment Inspection of Export enactment, export of crude oil and gas was characterized by undervaluation, delays in issuance of invoices and payments for goods, sometimes up to 120 days, manipulation of crude oil prices, illegal swaps, deliberate illegal over loadings, topping up of tanker loads by as much as 1% (against international standard of 0.1%) and other disturbing leakages and lapses.
The senate noted that two separate panels of enquiries raised by the Federal Government and headed by Generals in 1994 and 1995 discovered serious leakages amounting to a loss of around 150,000 barrels per day (BPD) of crude exports i.e 54,750,000 barrels per year.
It also noted that the recommendations of these panels led to the enactment of Preshipment Inspection Decree No10 of 1996 now known as Preshipment Inspection of Export Act Cap P26 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The senate also noted that the Act mandates CBN to establish special account and maintain same for the purpose of payment of levies payable by exporters of all and non-oil exports to meet the statutory requirements of the Nigerian Export Supervision Scheme.
Further aware that from the commencement and implementation of the Act in April 1996 to March 2000 the following successes were recorded.
It noted that implementation had Saved Nigeria huge sums of foreign exchange losses, reduction of crude oil from terminals, reduction of arbitration on prices, quality and quantity shortfall claims and provided on-the-job training local seminars and overseas training of officers working in designated government relevant agencies.
The senators expressed worry that the Joint Venture Oil Companies had refused to repatriate their portion of the total crude oil export proceeds of over $850bn between 1996 to 2016 in total contravention of Section 11 of the PIE Act and Article 26 of the Export Policy Guidelines and Procedure for Crude Oil, Gas and Non-oil goods of the Federal Ministry of Finance which mandates exporters.
In view of the bad impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, they said there was the need to exploit all known legal and global oil transaction protocols to block notable loopholes in Oil and Gas business in Nigeria to increase revenue, boost foreign exchange reserves and improve the value of naira.
The Senate expressed concerns that there was no congruence in the data for Nigeria export earnings published by various relevant federal government agencies such as the CBN, DPR, NNPC and NBS among others with those published by some international institutions like OPEC.
It mandated the Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to conduct an investigative hearing, as a matter of urgency, to determine the exact amount of crude oil and gas, and non-oil export proceeds un-repatriated since the inception of the Act in April 1996 to 2019.
The committee is to ascertain why relevant government agencies keep having conflicting data of same product value published in Nigeria with those published by OPEC.
The committee was directed to engage experts to conduct forensic reconciliation of the export proceeds of crude oil, gas and non-oil export into the Exporters Domiciliary Accounts since the inception of the programs in 1996 with a view to ascertain the exact amount due for repatriation.
The Senate also directed the CBN to forthwith comply strictly with the provision of the Act and the guidelines for maximum benefit to Nigeria.