The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other oil marketers indicted by the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on the Monitoring of the Subsidy Regime as fraudulently benefiting from subsidy payment on imported petroleum products have opted to remain silent.
The committee had in its report released on Wednesday recommended that NNPC and 72 other firms should refund N1.07tn to the Federal Government being over-payment for imported petroleum products last year.
However, the Group General Manager, Public Affairs, NNPC, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, told our correspondent on the telephone on Thursday, “We have not seen the report and we don’t have a copy yet. But when we do get a copy, as a responsible corporate entity, the NNPC will study it and come up with a position.
“Don’t forget that this report has yet to be adopted by the House at plenary; so, it would be premature to comment on a document that is still in the works.”
When our correspondent reached out to the Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (Western Zone), Mr. Olumide Ogunmade, he said the body had yet to come up with a position.
“We can’t make any comment now. Let us exercise some patience because the report will be further debated by the House,” he said.
A top official of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, who did not want to be identified because he was not authorised to comment publicly on the issue said, “We have not seen the full report. We are making efforts to get it. Therefore, we cannot comment any further.”
One of the companies mentioned in the committee’s report, Techno Oil, said in a statement on Thursday that it never received subsidy payments for petroleum products it did not import.
In the statement, which was signed by its Corporate Affairs Manager, Mr. Babalola Peterson, the firm refuted the allegation of unlawful payment in its entirety, while maintaining that it had neither applied for nor received any illegal refund from the government.
It explained, “The company wants to state for the records that at the period the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Subsidy began and concluded its sitting, it had not yet received any money at all from the government as fuel subsidy refund.”
by Ozioma Ubabukoh