The senate was informed yesterday, 20th February that Nigeria has no documented record of oil and non-oil products export activity in the country since June 2015.
According to the full report presented to the Joint Committee of the Senate Committees on Finance, Trade and Investment, Gas, Petroleum Upstream, Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, and Customs, Excise and Tariff, the situation had cost Nigeria over N23.6 billion expected to be repatriated proceeds of the export within the period.
They also alleged discovery of over $850 billion earned by the nation between 1996 and 2014 from her crude oil export proceeds, which were not repatriated to the country by the Joint Venture Oil Companies.
During an investigative public hearing organized by the committee following a motion moved on the floor of the Senate by Senator Abubakar Yusuf (APC, Taraba Central) in July 2016, it was revealed that there had been a gross violation of the Pre-shipment Inspection of Export Act by certain Institutions of Government.
Speaking further, Mr. Usman Ndanusa, who is a deputy director in the Ministry of Trade and Investment posited that Nigeria had engaged in exportation of oil and non-oil produce without measurement and documentation.
He added that the development was sequel to the disengagement of pre-shipment inspection agents at the various export terminals in the country and their subsequent replacement with agents who were merely asked by the federal government without legal and constitutional backing to carry out the pre-shipment work at the terminals.
Ndanusa explained that since their engagements had no backing of the law, coupled with the fact that the Monitoring and Evaluation Agents, being the federal government workers expected to monitor the activities of the pre – shipment inspection agents, were not working over non-payment of entitlements, there was no one to undertake supervision of the agents.
“Lack of documentation left the country at the mercy of the agents. Nigeria had no control of measurement of its oil and non-oil export commodities, noting most of the terminals across the country had no comprehensive metering systems.”
Meanwhile, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki warned companies against scorning laws guarding business ventures in Nigeria and stressed that those found guilty will face the consequence.
“It is therefore worrisome as revealed in the motion that the Joint Venture Oil Companies have refused to repatriate crude oil export proceeds of over $850 billion between 1996 to 2014 which is in total contravention of the Pre-shipment Inspection of Export Act and Article 26 of Export Policy Guidelines and procedures for crude oil, Gas and non-oil goods.
“If the country is good for doing business it simply means the laws of the country must also be respected. Whoever is found culpable will be brought to book no matter how highly placed because the monies involved is enough to tackle the infrastructural challenges all over Nigeria.”
The senate president lamented that over time, certain laws of in Nigeria have been neglected and broken because the institutions meant to enforce compliance are not living up to their responsibilities.