Reps Begin Probe Of 32-yr-old NNPC Joint Venture Contracts - Mc Ebisco Reps Begin Probe Of 32-yr-old NNPC Joint Venture Contracts - Mc Ebisco
Politics

Reps Begin Probe Of 32-yr-old NNPC Joint Venture Contracts

The House of Representatives has directed the Accountant- General of the Federation, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Chevron Nigeria Limited, and other stakeholders to furnish it with relevant documents as it began the probe of all joint venture (JV) operations and Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) in the oil and gas sector since 1990 to verify if the transactions were legal.

Chairman of the House Ad Hoc Committee investigating the structure and accountability of the joint venture businesses and production sharing contracts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from 1990 to date, Hon Abubakar Hassan Fulata, gave the order yesterday at the commencement of the exercise.

He said the investigation will be carried out within the constitutional mandate of the National Assembly as part of its quasi-judicial responsibility to ensure transparency in the conduct of government businesses.

Fulata asked the chief executives of all the invited to endeavour to appear in person with the documents as from Friday warning that the committee would not entertain any memorandum or presentation from any staff other than the heads of the affected organisations.

He explained that: “The thrust of this assignment shall be to critically examine whether the operations of the joint venture businesses and production sharing contracts between the oil companies involved in these arrangements with the NNPC have been conducted within the ambit of the laws and to determine whether the benefits accruable to the Nigeria state has been fair and reasonable.

“It should be noted that any infraction in the oil and gas business either by the operating companies or individuals within the sector has a corollary effect on the Nigerian economy, therefore, the committee in the conduct of this hearing will not leave any stone unturned as we pledge to act fairly in the best interest of the stakeholders and the Nigerian state.”

While declaring the investigation opened, Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila said: “The investigation became necessary as there are serious allegations that operations of the joint venture (JV) businesses and production sharing contracts (PSCs) for which NNPC is a party and representing Nigerian interest have over the years been conducted with the highest degree of opaqueness to the extent that Nigeria government and her citizens have been deprived of the value of their investment in the oil and gas sector.

“As you are all aware, oil and gas are critical to Nigeria’s economic and social development. Oil alone accounts for about 40% of the country’s GDP, 70% of budget revenues and 95% of foreign exchange earnings.”

The Speaker, who was represented by deputy House leader, Hon. Peter Akpatason, said “It should be noted that the Joint Venture agreements and the production sharing contracts are supposed to protect the interest of all parties.

“However, there are concerns that these agreements are being observed in branches and that Nigeria is being short-changed. Indeed I am certain that this investigative hearing will be fair to all parties such that the collective interest of all parties will be protected.”

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