Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Reps investigates DPR over oil block licenses, signature bonuses

The House of Representatives began its investigation on leakages within the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) with a warning against attempts to derail it by affected organizations. This followed the disclosure of an ad hoc mandated to investigate the agency that DPR has failed respond to its queries. The panel was mandated to investigate and ascertain the ownership, distribution and authenticity of Oil Mining License (OML), Oil Prospecting Licenses (OPL), relinquishment, signature bonuses and bidding process. The Committee said it will not hesitate to invoke relevant laws to compel compliance by recalcitrant public and private entities because of time constraint. Chairman of the Committee, Agom Jerigbe (PDP, Cross River) at the inaugural meeting of the panel said queries were sent to a list of affected government agencies and oil companies but the DPR has refused to respond. “Some of them have responded, some asked for time to make available their presentations but DPR did not respond. This is a surprise to us because this attitude is least expected of a government agency. “We don’t have all the in the time in the world considering the fact the economy is under some constraints right now, as such all hands must be on deck to put it back on the right track for the betterment of every citizen of this country,” he said Similarly Committees on Finance, Housing and Urban Development and Regional Planning have been mandated to investigate alleged non-remittance of N5.6b tax by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to the Federal government. Sponsor of the motion, Nicholas Ossai (PDP Delta) said between 2011 and 2015, the Bank generated a total revenue of N44.073b with N13.17b of it having been generated in 2015 but the Bank defaulted in the remittance of the Value Added Tax (VAT) collections of N2.2b to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). He also observed that the Bank also defaulted in remittance of Withholding Tax deductions to FIRS amounting to N3.4b during the same period. “Due to poor management by successive managements of the Bank, there had been unimaginable high volume of non-performance of 70 percent of the Bank’s risk assets and loans, thus resulting in sharp erosion of its Capital Structure and the National Housing Fund deposits. “The mismanagement of the Bank has led to huge administrative expenditure to the extent that its annual average of staff maintenance is N4b, while Directors fees and expenses are on the average of N200m annually “However, Section 40 of the FIRS Act specifies a penalty of 10 percent on withheld or unremitted tax by any defaulter after 30 days from the date of default,” he said. The motion was unanimously adopted after it was put to a voice vote.

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