Nigeria’s state oil company denies it failed to remit $16 bln in 2014

ABUJA, March 16 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s state oil company on Wednesday challenged official allegations that it had failed to remit 3.2 trillion naira ($16 billion) in revenues to the government in 2014 and said it only owed $1.64 billion.

The auditor-general made the allegations in a report two days ago. President Muhammadu Buhari won office last May in Africa’s biggest oil-producing nation, promising to end the corruption and mismanagement that has stunted the continent’s biggest economy.

Under the constitution, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) must hand over its oil revenue – which makes up about 70 percent of total income – and money is then paid back based on a budget approved by parliament.

The latest figures on OPEC’s website state that Nigeria’s oil exports are worth around $77 billion a year.

However, the act establishing the state oil company allows it to cover costs before remitting funds to the government.

“The declaration by the AuGF (Auditor General of the Federation) may have been borne out of misunderstanding of how revenues from crude oil and gas sales are remitted into the Federation Account,” said NNPC Chief Financial Officer Isiaka Abdulrazaq in a statement.

“NNPC wishes to state in strong terms that the AuGF’s declaration is erroneous,” he said, adding that the auditor-general had failed to account for costs including a fuel subsidy, pipeline vandalism and maintenance.

“Consequently, the figure owed to the Federation Account as at January 2015 Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting report was N326,142,137,205.79 ($1.64 billion)…and not the N3.23 trillion alleged by the AuGF,” he said.

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