The outstanding N1.3tn debt of the Federal Government to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has nothing to do with the payment of dividend to the government, the NNPCL said on Thursday.
In June this year, the national oil company revealed that it was expecting a refund of about N1.3tn from the Federation Account as debt by the Federal Government. It disclosed this when the inter-agency committee constituted by President Bola Tinubu was set to commence sitting to resolve the lingering debt row.
The Federal Government had accused the NNPCL of indebtedness to the tune of about N2.8tn, but the oil company had claimed that the Federal Government should first pay back almost N4.1tn, which was its unsettled outstanding claims for subsidy payments on petroleum products imports, supplies and distribution on behalf of the government.
“The Federation owes NNPC almost N4.1tn and NNPC owes about N2.8tn to the Federal Government. So, they should actually give us a cheque for the debt of N1.3tn they owe NNPC Limited,” a senior official of the company had reportedly stated recently in Abuja, as the inter-agency committee constituted by the President moved to resolve the matter.
But despite this debt by the Federal Government to the NNPCL, the company announced recently that it paid a dividend and Production Sharing Contract profit of about N123bn to the Federal Government in June.
It stated, “NNPC has remitted N123bn (N81bn as monthly interim dividend and N42bn as 40 per cent PSC profit oil) in addition to compliance on payment of royalties and taxes.
“This clearly shows that the company under the leadership of Mallam Mele Kyari is moving in a positive trajectory as enshrined in the PIA (Petroleum Industry Act),” the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Umar Ajiya, stated in a chat with journalists.
When contacted by our correspondent and asked if the oil company had started to deduct part or all of the N1.3tn being owed it by the Federal Government, since it just paid N123bn dividend to the government, the firm replied in the negative.
The Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPCL, Garba-Deen Muhammad, went ahead to explain that the payment of dividend had nothing to do with the N1.3tn debt of the Federal Government to the national oil company.
“Dividend payment is on projected profit and has nothing to do with the outstanding N1.3tn owed to the NNPC Ltd,” he stated in a brief reply to our correspondent.