The Senate on Wednesday directed the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, to investigate the $18.32bn which the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited claimed to have paid as dividend to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation between 2004 and 2020.
The Chairman Senate Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning, Senator Solomon Adeola, gave the directive at the ongoing stakeholders public hearing on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
The General Manager (External Relations and Sustainable Development) of NLNG, Mrs Eyono Fatai-Williams, had appeared before the panel, to present the financial activities of the company from 1999-2019.
Fatai-Williams told the panel that the company paid a dividend of over $18bn to NNPC from 2004 to 2019.
She emphasised that the NLNG was committed to a culture of transparency and integrity.
Fatai-Williams also disclosed that the NLNG remitted $9bn as tax to the Federal Government from 2011 to date.
She said additional $15bn had also been remitted for field gas to the NNPC since inception of the company.
When Senator Adeola inquired from the Accountant General of the Federation if he could confirm the payment of the dividends to the Federation Account, he said it would be difficult to determine.
Idris told the panel that the dividend was usually paid to the NNPC who are the representatives of Nigeria in the company.
The chairman therefore directed the Accountant-General to investigate the payment and report back to the Senate in two weeks.
Adeola said the confirmation of the remittances would give the true situation of Federal Government’s investment in NLNG since inception and the performance of the company in general.
Meanwhile, the Senate has urged the Federal Government to, from September this year, ensure remittance of one per cent from the federation account into the coffers of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure in line with the extant laws.
The joint panel stated this when the Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, made submission before the panel on Wednesday.
Haruna lamented that the agency had never received one per cent remittance from the federation account as provided for by the 2004 National Assembly Act.