April 14, 2024

The attention of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has been drawn to a rather mischievous story with the headline “Audit report indicts NUPRC, Customs for non-remittance into Federation Account,” in The Nation newspaper of Sunday, March 10, 2024.The story, which claims that a 2022 Report from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation indicted the Nigerian Customs Service and the NUPRC for non-remittance of billions of Naira, clearly shows a lack of understanding of the composition and responsibility of the NUPRC. The newspaper quoted the report as indicating that N151.121 billion deducted by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) on behalf of NUPRC (formerly Department of Petroleum Resources) as royalty for 2020 was not captured in the federation account.In the first place, the audit report under reference is that of the Year 2020. The NUPRC is a creation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) of 2021 and was inaugurated in October 2021. It is a regulatory body and not directly involved in operational activities. It therefore smacks of professional sloppiness to link NUPRC by whatever definition to a report of 2020. It is also mischievous to claim that NUPRC did not remit funds it never received. Funds, including royalties, received by licensees (all operators, NNPCL inclusive) are meant to be remitted directly to the Federation Account. It does not pass through NUPRC. They are responsible for receiving and remitting funds from oil and gas sector operations to the designated accounts. Even though the NUPRC, as a regulator, subsequently made efforts for the licensees to remit all outstanding funds in their custody to the Federation Account, the reasons for neglect, failure or refusal to do so are directly within their respective purview. It is therefore an act of mischief to lay the fault on NUPRC or blame the Commission for not remitting funds it never received.It must be stated emphatically that the NUPRC cannot bear vicarious indictment for a process outside its domain, as it does not receive and is not in a position to fail or refuse remittance.

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