OrderPaperToday – The Senate has given the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) one week to provide evidence of payment of taxes and dividends amounting to $8billion since the end of the company’s tax holiday in 2009.

The upper legislative chamber has given a one week ultimatum to International Oil Companies (IOCs) to produce details of gas flaring as well as the environment impact assessment of oil exploration in the Niger Delta region.

These developments happened on Thursday at the senate when the NLNG and IOCs briefed Senate Committees on Gas and the Niger Delta on developments regarding their operations.

The one week directive to NLNG was given by the Chairman of the Committee on Gas, Sen. Bassey Akpan when the MD of the company could failed to give specific details of the amount paid out so far as taxes and dividend.

The senator also directed the company to also provide details of an alleged payment of about $8 billion to the NNPC as contained in a report by the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

Bassey said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had in its budget estimates for 2016, stated that there was no payment of dividend from the NLNG.

He said: “MD we need a documentary evidence of the taxes that you have paid and the dividends that you have paid from the end of your tax holiday till date.

“We must be able to substantiate the argument by NEITI that about $8 billion dividends has not been transferred to the Federation Account: the interest of Nigeria is reflected in this.

“A cumulative return on investment amounting to about $88 billion you said have remitted to NNPC but it has not been transferred to the Federation Account.

“This can be justified by the content of what you told us here that in 2015 alone you paid $1 billion as dividends to NNPC. So we need a documentary evidence that this money has left your position to NNPC so we can take it up with NNPC immediately.

“Because according to NNPC you have not paid a dime, there must be a directive on the account to pay to. So you should submit to the secretariat all the details within one week.

“The President needs money to perform and we must help the President at the National Assembly to get the money.”

The committee chairman also directed that the NLNG also provides evidence of the N33 billion the company claimed to have paid to the Federal government as well.

He said that the evidence of the $2.1 billion paid in 2015 should also be provided while also querying the company’s N197 billion projection for 2016.

“You presentation states that your projection for 2016 is N197 billion, we need to understand how you arrived at that with dwindling prices of gas since you say your prices are tied to crude prices,” he said.

The senator continued: “Also how you intend to achieve a budget of N265 billion for 2016 when you paid nothing in 2015 because these are all part of governments revenue projection for 2016.

“If you add up what should come from NLNG is adds up to almost N500 billion so we need to know how you arrived at this and we also want evidences to prove all these figures assigned to you.”

In his remarks, the Managing Director of the Nigerian LNG Mr Babs Omotowa exonerated the company saying that the evidence of remittance will be made available to the Senate.

Omotowa stressed that just as the NEITI report suggested, the company had paid all the dividends due to the NNPC but was not in the position to monitor what the NNPC or any shareholder did with their dividends.

“We will provide to you whatever evidences you want: it is not in our place to determine what shareholders do with their funds or where they have paid their money,” he said.

In a related development, the committee gave international Oil Companies (IOCs) one week to submit details of gas flaring and reports of the environment impact assessment of oil exploration in the Delta region.

The Senate also requested evidence of social responsibility projects being carried out to alleviate the sufferings of the people occasioned by environmental pollution arising from oil and gas exploration.

The directive came with a warning that the companies must be represented at the committee’s next hearing by an official not less than the position an Executive Director.

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