SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, on Monday, stated that the resolve by the House to probe the proposed $1.56 billion loan deal by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was because there was no provision for such loan in the 2013-2015 Medium Term Framework and the 2013 budget currently awaiting President Goodluck Jonathan’s assent.
He stated this while declaring open the investigative hearing organised by the House Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (upstream and downstream), Aids, Loans and Debt Management and Justice detailed by the House to probe the loan deal.
The speaker, represented by the House Chief Whip, Honourable Ishiaka Bawa, said the findings and recommendations of the panel would influence the direction and decisions of the parliament.
According to him, “the issue before us today for consideration, the proposed $1.56 billion loan by the NNPC, is very important. Its importance is predicated on the fact that the proposed loan was neither captured in the 2013-2015 Medium Term Framework, nor the 2013 budget.”
He added that “members of the Seventh Assembly are fully committed to bringing the dividends of democracy to our people, and ensuring that we have a policy that we shall all be proud of. It is on account of this belief that the House in its wisdom referred this matter to the committees on Petroleum Resources (upstream and downstream), aids, loans and debt management and Justice to investigate fully and report back to the House.”
He said further that,”We are convinced that your findings and recommendations will greatly influence the direction that the House will take, and therefore urge you to do a thorough job. As leaders, we must be sensitive to the needs of our people and do only those things that will reflect us in a positive light”.
However, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Dieziani Allison-Madueke and the Group Managing Director (GMD), NNPC, Andrew Yakubu while addressing the panel denied obtaining such amount of loan.
The duo rather maintained that the said money in question was not a loan but a forward sales agreement between the Corporation and its trading partners in lieu of the Corporation’ s indebtedness to them.
The NNPC boss specifically told the panel that, “the arrangement is based on a forward sale which allows a future sale of agreed quantities of 15,000 bpd of crude oil to a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for a period of up to five years in consideration of the sum of US$1.5 Billion paid by the SPV to NNPC. The US$1.5 Billion will be used to off-set part of the petroleum imports bills”.