Ribadu Wants FG To Fund Joint Ventures

The Management and staff of Bua Group, Port Harcourt in a walk-out during their Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) week at Port Harcourt Port Complex, recently.

The Federal Government, has been enjoined to put in place a coherent solution that allows government to fund its obligations under the Joint Venture JV Contract if it intends to increase its revenue from the oil and gas industry.

Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, commenting on the recommendations of the report by the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja over the weekend said funding government obligation will unlock additional capital from JV partners which will over time increase government’s revenue from the proportionate additional balance of crude oil revenues and royalties on the entire production and taxes on taxable income.

Ribadu urged the federal government to take action on issues of outstanding royalties, petroleum revenue tax and various penalties citing gas flaring penalties as an instance.

His words: “Mr. President, the companies that are operating in Nigeria today are making huge money from our country. A lot of them are going out and investing in other parts of the world. The least they can do is to give us our own entitlement. We have found out that so many of them, even simple thing as royalties, they don’t pay. We need the money. We need them here. We need them to continue to do business, but also let them look at us and give us what is certainly our own entitlement.”

He also, highlighted on the use of traders to sell our crude stressing that other than Congo, Nigeria was the only country the world over that sells its crude through traders otherwise called term traders.”

The report noted that some international oil traders who were not “on the approved master list of customers” had been sold crude oil. “Without a formal contract” so little could be obtained about the details of these deals which can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars thus serve to reduce margins obtainable on sale of crude oil.

It therefore, recommended the direct sale of the nation’s crude like other countries were doing.

The report also pointed out the grave consequence of crude oil theft describing it as a national tragedy and stressed the need for government’s urgent action noting that it was one of the reasons the country was losing those who had interest of coming in to do business as they now have the option of going to other countries within the region that have just discovered crude oil.

Stating that the recommendations of the committee would strengthen institutions responsible for the management of the Petroleum industry, Ribadu who is the chairman of the committee said, “Most of the recommendations are about management, about people and about how we run our own affairs. It propably may not have to do with the law.

PIB or no PIB, some of these things right now can be implemented and if PIB comes it will still be very important in getting the result.”

The committee’s deputy chairman, Steve Orosanye, however, challenged the process of compilation of the report arguing that the process adopted by the committee at arriving at it the report was flawed.

Submitting the report to the President, the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke called on Nigerians to down play the disagreement between the members of the committee and focus on the salient recommendation contained in the report.

“I will not allow this to reduce the extent of hard work that this people of integrity has put into all the work. They have done a good work. It is more critical to concern ourselves about how well we will move forward when we finalise,” she said.