Compel DPR to refund all illegal deductions, Oshiomhole charges RMAFC Chairman

Jethro Ibileke/Benin

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State called on the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, to compel the Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR) to refund all the money illegally deducted at source that was meant for the federation account.

The governor’s call was sequel to the declaration by the RMAFC Chairman that the practice of deducting cost of revenues at source by federal government ministries and agencies was illegal.

On Wednesday, Mbam had at a three-day seminar held in Benin, Edo state capital announced that all federal government ministries and agencies have been ordered to stop such deductions forthwith. The seminar was organized by the Post-Mortem sub-committe of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) titled, “National Gas Seminar on the role of gas in Nigeria’s Economy,”

He added that the Commission has ordered all relevant federal government agencies such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, Accountant-General of the federation and the federal ministry of finance to suspend the unilateral deduction at source, any money collected by the agencies.

“The law is very clear on the law of collection and on the issue of DPR collecting cost of collection. The position of the commission is very clear on that. We are against that collection and we have queried relevant government agencies for making that available to DPR and asked that it should be suspended.

“We did not approve that cost of collection should just be unilaterally given and if it must happen the agency should go through the owners of the funds and they should give approval which means the three tiers of government must agree that there is need to provide funds for an agencies before it can be deducted from source. Ideally, money should not be unilaterally deducted from source. The only beneficiaries of the federation accounts are the three tiers of government.

“We have sent letters and all the letters have reached all the relevant agencies. We have sent letters to the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministry of Finance and CBN and they have been delivered to them and I expect them to comply,” he added.

He said the seminar was geared towards harnessing the nation’s gas resources to enhance the revenue accruing into the federation for the benefit of the three tiers of government, adding that Nigeria is considered as a gas province in the world oil and gas reserve, noting that investment in the development of the gas infrastructure in the country was worthwhile and will positively accelerate the nation’s socio-economic development.

Following Mbam’s declarationn, governor Oshiomhole vowed that Edo state must collect what belongs to it from the federation account, adding that he would not hesitate to institute legal action against the authorities of DPR if it becomes necessary.

“Chairman, you must compel the DPR to refund the money. Edo state will pursue its own share of that money because we have not authorized the DPR to take it. And we have the right to go to court if it is not done because for me I want to die for something and not for nothing because I know I will die.

“DPR budget as I understand is about N4 billion annually and in one month illegally they have deducted 4 per cent from certain accruals from royalties among others amounting to over N2 billion. If your annual budget is about N4 billion and you collect over N2 billion in one month which means in a year you are going to collect close to between N24 and N30 billion where your total expenditure is not more than N4 billion.

“This is not only illegal, it is unjust and not acceptable in a decent society We cannot all keep quiet even in the face of everyone abusing power. We drive round the country we see a lot of our able young men.

“In today’s post mortem we want to know how much NIMASA has earned over the years under president Goodluck Jonathan that was never transferred to the federation account and where is the money and how much is it? We also want to know how much NPA transferred to the federation account and if they did not
how much do they earn and where is the money?, he
said.

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Finance has attributed the underdevelopment of the Nigeria gas sector to the non-implementation of the 2008 National Gas Master plan by past administrations.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Anastatia Daniel-Nwobia, who spoke through the Ministry’s Director of Special Duties, Mr. Dennis Chukwu, said the non-implementation of the gas master plan also affected the inadequate domestic gas supply infrastructure and the absence of a commercially viable pricing structure for the domestic market.

She said the only way to mitigate the challenges was to for the reappraisal and implementation of the national gas master plan that has been on the shelf since 2008, adding that the urgent implementation of the master plan would lead to better harnessing of the nation’s gas to feed the power turbines, drive industries and avail households of the much needed energy supply.

Besides, Mrs. Daniel-Nwobia said it would lead to enlargement of the employment space for the teeming youths, enhance the diversification of the national economy and cause significant growth in the country’s export earnings.

She was optimistic that once the Brass and Olokola Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects were completed their impact would deepen as well as broaden the industrial horizon of the country.

While noting that Nigeria has gas deposit reserved of approximately 188 trillion cubic feet making it the first in Africa, she said since the advent of democracy in 1999 there has been focus on harnessing Nigeria’s gas reserves for national growth and development.

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