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Audit report: NNPC yet to remit N326bn to FG not N3.24trn as alleged – Group ED

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, yesterday, described as erroneous claims by the Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF) that it failed to remit N3.235 trillion to the Federation Account for the period ended December 31, 2014.

The NNPC, in a statement in Abuja, signed by its Group Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer (Finance & Accounts), Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazaq, disclosed that contrary to the reports by the AuGF, the amount owed the Federation Account by the NNPC, as at January 2015, was N326.14 billion, noting, however, that the amount was still being reconciled.

The NNPC also stated that it had a claim of N1.375 trillion against the federation as at 2009, which is currently being reviewed by the Federal Ministry of Finance’s appointed forensic auditors at the instance of the Minister of Finance.

The NNPC further denied transferring $235 million to an undisclosed escrow account, stating that it did not have any secret escrow account. According to the NNPC, the alleged $235 million represents proceeds from the sale of gas feed stock to Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) that was used to repay part of the Modified Carry Agreement (MCA) loans, applicable royalty to Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and tax to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The NNPC said the MCA loan was contracted specifically to fund the development of upstream oil and gas projects which transactions were regularly reported to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) as part of the reconciliation of the revenues to NNPC, FIRS and DPR.

It said the MCA and all other alternative funding arrangements were annually appropriated by the National Assembly and were, therefore, fully disclosed to FAAC on monthly basis. The NNPC also accused the Auditor-General of failing to abide by the established process of audit, by refusing to meet with it after the audit and for also failing to furnish it with draft copies of the report.

It said: “The best practice and established due process is that after any audit, there should be an exit meeting between the auditor and the auditee, where any outstanding issues are finally discussed and explained before the issuance of the audit report. There was no such meeting and NNPC did not receive any draft report from the AuGF’s office for comments.

“The NNPC wishes to state that in carrying out its statutory duties, it will continue to maintain the highest level of transparency and accountability. Please be assured that NNPC remains available at all times to provide clarifications on these issues or any other matter relating to our responsibility to the Federation and the Nigerian people.”

The NNPC disclosed that the clarifications became necessary as it deemed it fit and important to correct any misinformation about the activities of the corporation as this will adversely affect its current and future financial and operational plans, if not corrected. However, the NNPC explained that the declaration by the AuGF might have been borne out of misunderstanding of how revenues from crude oil and gas sales were remitted into the Federation Account.

Clarifications Giving further clarifications of the amount, the NNPC said: “As part of its responsibilities, NNPC is allocated 445,000 barrels per day for processing into petroleum products for distribution to the nation. Any unprocessed crude is sold and the proceeds is used to pay for importation of petroleum products. “The proceeds from the sale of these products are remitted to the federation account after deducting the cost associated with the supply and distribution.

“The total amount of subsidy that has been approved and certified by PPPRA for the period of January 2012 to December 2014 was N2.34 trillion. An additional N7.96 billion subsidy claim is still under reconciliation.

“Losses from crude oil and petroleum products, as a result of vandalism on its network of pipelines for the period of January 2012 to December 2014 were N202.68 billion. Petroleum Product Strategic Holding Cost and Pipeline Repairs and Maintenance Cost for the period of January 2012 to December 2014, amounted to N358.88 billion.

“Consequently, the figure owed to the Federation Account as at January 2015 Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting report was N326.142 billion, which is still being reconciled and not the N3.23 trillion alleged by the AuGF.”

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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