The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee investigating Refined Product Exchange Agreement/Crude Oil Swap by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday formally invited the former minister of petroleum resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, to appear before it to explain her role in the crude oil swap arrangements with oil trading companies.
According to a letter of invitation dated Monday, February 22, 2016, and personally signed by the committee’s chairman, Hon. Zakari Mohammed, a copy of which was obtained by LEADERSHIP, the invitation of Alison-Madueke became necessary for further clarifications in view of “preponderance of document and evidence at the hearing.”
Consequently, the panel requested Alison-Madueke to appear before it on Wednesday, March 2, 2016, with five categories of documents that would assist it in the discharge of its legislative duties.
She is to furnish the Committee’s Secretariat with 20 copies of each category of the documents requested from her which include a full brief on the Oil Swap Agreement; Presidential/Federal Executive Council’s (FEC’s) Approval and/or NNPC Board’s resolution on the contract.
Others are the approved threshold for the minister for petroleum resources, the NNPC Board and the GMD; the minister’s power to extend a contract that had expired and not yet renewed; and any other document that may assist the committee in its assignment.
LEADERSHIP recalls that the three former group managing directors (GMDs) of the NNPC who had appeared before the committee had absolved themselves of any wrongdoing, attributing the unilateral extension of oil swap deal contracts to the former minister.
The committee had also discovered, in the course of the investigative hearing, that some of the oil trading companies contracted for lifting crude oil under the swap arrangement were actually fake or unregistered.
It is left to be seen whether the embattled Alison-Madueke, who had since moved to London since May 2015 on health grounds, will honour the committee’s invitation.
Oil Price: Nigeria, Other Oil Producers Lost $340bn In 2015 – IMF
Oil exporting countries in the Middle East and Africa, including Nigeria, lost more than $340 billion in oil revenue from their budget in 2015, amounting to 20 per cent of their combined gross domestic product (GDP), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.
Managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, who disclosed this yesterday, stated that supply and demand factors in the oil market suggest that oil prices are “likely to stay low for an extended period.”
Speaking at the Arab Fiscal Forum in Abu Dhabi, Lagarde noted: “This will mean that all oil exporters will have to reduce spending and work on raising revenues,” adding that such adjustments will help bolster growth and job creation and help maintain debt sustainability.
“At the same time, these economies need to strengthen their fiscal frameworks and reengineer their tax systems by reducing their heavy reliance on oil revenues and boosting non-hydrocarbon sources of revenues,” Lagarde further stated.
Nigeria reportedly lost over $62.8 million revenue between November and December last year due to the slump in oil prices.
President Muhammadu Buhari left Nigeria Sunday for the Gulf as part of ongoing efforts by country and other members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to achieve greater stability in the price of crude oil.
Meanwhile, Brent oil held losses near $33 a barrel yesterday as Nigeria backed Saudi Arabia and Russia to freeze output amid a global glut. Futures were a little changed in New York after declining 3.7 per cent Friday, and Brent for April settlement was unchanged at $33.01 a barrel.
Under the new deal, however, Iraq and Iran are expected to have production capped at a higher level to allow the countries to gain lost market share due to war and sanctions, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, told reporters in Doha, according to Bloomberg.
Oil producing nations agreed to wrap up talks on the freeze by the start of March, Bloomberg also reported Russian Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, as saying.
Crude prices has fallen by about 12 per cent this year on speculation that a worldwide surplus will persist amid the outlook for increased exports from Iran after the removal of international sanctions and brimming United States stockpiles.
In a related development, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday announced the deployment of additional trucks of petrol to arrest the emerging fuel queues in the Federal Capital Territory.
The NNPC in a release explained that it has increased the fuel truck-out to Abuja and environs from the usual average of 160 trucks per day to 250 trucks, about 8.25 million litres, “to arrest the lull experienced due to last weekend’s State House of Assembly re-run election in Niger State which affected truck movement from the Suleja depot.”
While calling on members of the public to refrain from all forms of hoarding, diversion and panic buying of petroleum products, the Corporation, in the statement by its spokesman, Ohi Alegbe, assured of availability of petrol to meet the demand of consumers in Abuja and beyond.
“Apart from the additional injection of volumes of petrol into the market, the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) has stepped up monitoring across fuel stations to ensure strict compliance with laid down rules and regulations on the sales and distribution of petroleum products,’’ the Corporation further informed.
PMB Arrives Riyadh On Official Visit To Saudi Arabia, Qatar
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday arrived in Riyadh to commence a week-long visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The president’s plane landed at the Royal Terminal of King Abdel International Airport, Riyadh at about 8 p.m.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Buhari was received on arrival by a high-powered Saudi government delegation, led by the Governor of Riyadh, Prince Faisal Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
Also at the airport to receive the president were the Nigerian governors of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari; Kashim Shettima of Borno; Rauf Aregebesola of Osun; Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun and Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina.
The president and members of his entourage were driven to the King Saud Guest Palace, where he lodged. He is expected to meet with the Saudi monarch, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and senior officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today.
A presidency statement on Sunday stated that the president would meet with leading Saudi and Qatari businessmen in Riyadh and Doha.
It added that Buhari would invite them to support his administration’s efforts to revamp the Nigerian economy by taking advantage of the huge investment opportunities that abound in various sectors of the economy.
According to the statement, Buhari is also expected to visit Medina and Grand Mosque in Makkah, where he is expected to perform prayers for the peace and unity of the country.
President Buhari’s other engagements in Saudi Arabia include meetings with heads of international financial organisations and multilateral associations.
He is expected to leave Saudi Arabia on Saturday for Doha, the Qatari capital.
Qatar currently holds the presidency of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).[Leadership]