OrderPaperToday – The Federal Government and a cohort of oil companies have failed to remit about N1.5trillion due to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) between 2000 and 2017.
This revelation was made at a hearing of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating outstanding sums due to the Commission on Tuesday.
Mr. Msima Ekere, Managing Director (MD) of NDDC, during his submission told the committee that the total sum owed the Commission as of 2000 to 2017 by International Oil Companies (IOCs) amounted to N1.8billion while total indebtedness by federal government amounted to N1.3trillion.
He also explained that all efforts to make both the federal government and the IOCs pay up the outstanding had remained a mirage as the Ministry of Finance has refused to cooperate with the Commission to resolve the issue.
According to him, “since 2000 till date going going by the law that set up the NDDC and how much monies are supposed to be paid by various stakeholders, we have noticed shortfalls from the 15% accruals of funds from the federation accounts going by what they are supposed to contribute to each member states to the Commission totaling N1.9trillion. The total amount received from federal government allocation to NDDC is N650billion leaving a short fall of N1.3 trillion”.
He continued: “As for the IOCs, the total amount due to the Commission to date is N5.2billion whereas they have paid N4.8billion leaving an outstanding of N1.8billion from a total of forty five (45) oil companies.”
When asked by the committee the efforts put in place to recover the outstanding funds both from the federal government and the IOCs he said, “we have done and are still doing everything within our powers to recoup these monies; in fact at some point we were forced to take some companies to court (and) as for the government, we wrote a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari asking him to prevail on the Ministry of Finance and that of Budget and National Planning to pay the allocation due to the Commission but unfortunately the Ministry of Finance has refused to cooperate.”
Reacting to the developments, Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Ahmed Chachangi (APC, Kaduna) said almost eighteen (18) years after the establishment of the Commission, the National Assembly had received complaints of marginalization from stakeholders in the Niger Delta area which shows that the NDDC despite its establishment has failed to live up to its mandate.
He said allegations of non-remittances and underpayments by government and statutorily obliged private corporations would not be treated with levity as according to him, “laws are sacrosanct and must be obeyed by all persons particularly, developmental laws such as the NDDC Act are engineered to facilitate development and foster social stability and national cohesion.”
However, the hearing, which was scheduled to commence by 10.00am but did start till about 12:15pm, witnessed intermittent interruption of power. Although the committee apologized for the delay, no explanation was given as to why the hall that had invited guests was left in darkness for several hours.
OrderPaperNG had reported earlier that a persistent power failure had hit the House of Representatives wing of the National Assembly for over 24 hours.