The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, on Thursday, told the joint National Assembly Committees on Niger Delta that all the oil firms operating in the oil-rich region were not fully complying with the law in their remittances of 3
percent to the commission.
The NDDC Act, which is currently being amended in the House of Representatives, mandates the oil firms to pay three percent of their annual budget to the commission which is expected to utilize same to carry out its mandate of facilitating development in the region.
However, the DG lamented before the committees interactive hearing that the oil firms were just remitting whatever they liked to the commission from inception, a claim which was vehemently rebutted by the oil firms.
She stated that the NDDC did not have access to the annual budgets of the firms and therefore urged the National Assembly to assist the Commission to get the fiscal document from the firms so that the agency would be able to receive the accurate remittances due to it.
However, Representatives of oil majors operating in the area such as Shell, AGIP, Total, SEPLAT, among others, told the National Assembly joint committees that they have made their remittances either in dollar or naira in full payment to the NDDC up till last year.
The joint committees slammed the NDDC for converting the dollar remittances from the oil firms into the naira and wondered what exchange rates they used in doing the conversion.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaboshi, who basically presided over the proceeding, queried the NDDC boss for reading out the naira value of the dollar remittances of Platform oil company.
Nwaboshi directed the NDDC management to interact with the joint committees in order to obtain the correct remittances due to it and confront the oil firms with the fact in order to demand the appropriate payment.
The lawmaker stressed the need for the oil firms to respect the laws of the land by ensuring that they pay the accurate funds due to the agency in order to solve the environmental and social crisis affecting the people of the region.
The management of SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company Plc, had threatened to shut down its operations in the region because of so many challenges that prevented it from producing in the area for now.
The representatives of the company informed the joint committees that they may be forced to close down operations any moment from now, if the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company failed to honour its own side of the obligation to their Memorandum of Understanding.
The joint committees directed both SEPLAT and the NPDC to discuss after the session and iron out their differences.
The session was adjourned sine die.