Irked by the non remittances of some federal government agencies’ contributions to the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, the senate yesterday summoned the Accountant – General of the Federation, for proper explanation.
The Senate Committee on Niger Delta, through its chairman, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, gave the directive when the management of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, and Ecological Fund Office, appeared before the Senate panel to explain reasons why they were not making their obligation to the NDDC.
Nwaoboshi, said the amount due for payment to the NDDC from the NLNG and the EFO which they refused to pay since the last 16 years was colossal and insisted that they had by their action, disobeyed the nation’s laws.
He said, “The next step the committee would take now is to invite the Accountant-General of the Federation and investigate the matter to know why the two agencies of government had not been remitting what is due to the NDDC to it.”
The senator explained that the committee was conducting a holistic investigation into the activities of the NDDC especially why they were not performing well despite the huge resources at their disposal.
“What we want to do is to find out first, the claims in some quota that colossal amount had been given to the people of Niger Delta region through the NDDC hence there is nothing on the ground.
“We want to, know how much the agency had received so far from year 2000 to date. What are the projects they had executed with the money.
“We want to know those who are contributing to the agency. We have asked the Managing Director of the NLNG, Mr. Babs Omotowa, and he said that they have not been contributing money to the NDDC.
“They showed us a Supreme Court judgement which described NLNG as a gas processing company and that there is a gas Act that came before that of NDDC Act. They argued that the NDDC Act has not repealed the Gas Act.”
Nwaoboshi said the NLNG claimed that the Gas Act has given them tax holiday and that they have been carrying out their corporate social responsibilities in their host communities within the Niger Delta region.
He said, “We we are lawmakers and we are going to revisit the two Acts. We will go into the root of the matter. We don’t just make laws for the purpose of making it. Laws are meant to be obeyed. If government agencies and institutions refuse to obey the law, why do we talk about the rule of law? Laws made by the National Assembly should be obeyed.”
Nwaoboshi said, Everybody has been complaining that the NDDC was not performing but they did not know that the agency had not been receiving its dues especially from the oil companies.
He said the oil companies were supposed to pay three percent of their budget to NDDC but that they were giving less than that.
He said, “When they came before our committee, I read out the Act to them and some of them started apologising. They said they thought that they were supposed to pay three percent of the projects that they execute in their communities. There has been total disregard and respect for the NDDC Act and nobody will allow that.
The Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund Office, Mr. Mohammed Abass, explained to the committee that the NDDC was supposed to receive its funding from the states and local governments share of the fund.
He said, “The Ecological Fund Office has made contributions not to the NDDC. Our office receives one percent of the approved money due to the consolidated fund which is the federal government share of the federation account.
“Every other state in the federation receives one percent of the fund too. The account is called derivation and ecology.
“The Fiscal Allocation Committee shares two percent of the funds in the federation account to the federal, states and local governments. The federal government receives 48.5 percent, states receive 24 percent while the local governments receive 20 percent.
“The ecological Fund Office manages the federal government share. Therefore, the ecological Fund Office is not supposed to fund any state from its own resources because every state gets their own share of the allocation from the federation account and not from the consolidated revenue fund.
“I believe that the NDDC should receive funding from the shares due to states and local governments. The distribution of the shares of states and local governments are being controlled by the office of the Accountant – General of the Federation.
“There was no time that the NDDC has come to us to ask for funding. The fund we handle is used by the federal government to carry out intervention in states”.

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