THE Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has asked the Federal Government and all the oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta region to fulfil their financial statutory obligations to the Commission by remitting all their outstanding remittances to its coffers.
Since 2015, the Federal Government has not been remitting its statutory 15 percent of the total monthly statutory allocations due to member States of the Commission from the Federation Account as well as the 50 percent of monies due to member States of the Commission from the Ecological Fund.
The 15 percent, according to the provisions of Section 14(2)(a) and (c) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment, ETC) Act, 2014 represents the contribution of the Federal Government to the Commission.
However, the Commission has written to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Federal Ministry of Finance requesting for the remittance of the money which is well over N1.2trillion.
According to copies of the letters sighted by our correspondent prepared by Paris Trust, a firm engaged by the Commission to undertake the facilitation and remittance of the unremitted monies, all the oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta region have also defaulted in the remittance of the three percent of their annual budget to the Commission.
Section 14(2)(b) of the NDDC Act, 2014 says three percent of the total annual budget of any oil producing company operating on shore and off shore, in the Niger-Delta area; including gas-processing companies”, shall be paid and credited to the fund established by the NDDC for the defrayal of all expenditure.
The firm which is undertaking the facilitation and payment of the monies said it would be left with no option than to resort to legal action if at the end of a seven-day ultimatum; they fail to make the remittances.
“Take notice therefore that if at the expiration of seven (7) clear days from the date of your receipt of this letter you still fail, refuse and or neglect to liquidate the outstanding indebtedness due and owing to NDDC, we shall without fail commence legal action against you in a court of law, to recover the said sum together with any additional interest that may have accrued thereon since 2015,” the firm wrote in the letter signed by Timothy Bagwams, a principal partner at the firm.
Over 50 oil companies are owing and have been served letters by the firm as of July 26, 2019.
Among top oil companies owing the Commission that have already been served letters are Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG),Chevron, Shell and Agip. Others are African Petroleum, Pan Ocean oil, Petro Bas, Seplat, Haliburton, South Atlantic Petroleum and Zenon, Slumberger and First Exploration among others.