From January to June of this year, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited remitted a total of N2.7 billion into its accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), according to a document on NNPC remittances to the CBN seen in Abuja on Sunday.
Contradicting the claims of CBN that the weakening value of the naira was caused by the non-remittance of funds into Nigeria’s foreign reverses by NNPC, the document stated that out of the $2.7bn the oil firm remitted into its CBN accounts, $645m was for dividend paid by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas company Limited.
It added that $1.786bn was from the operational activities of the national oil company, which recently transited into a limited liability company.
In its reaction to the crash in the value of naira against the United States dollar, the CBN had said the non-remittance of dollars by NNPC precipitated the forex crisis.
In a report entitled, “The forex question in Nigeria: Fact sheet,” the apex bank reportedly stated that there had been “zero-dollar remittance to the country’s foreign reserve by the NNPC.”
But the document seen in Abuja on Sunday claimed otherwise, as it stated that NNPC remitted $2.7bn to CBN in the first six months of this year.
It said $645m was for dividend paid by the NLNG, while $1.786bn was from NNPC’s operations during the six-month period.
A breakdown of NNPC remittances showed that funds into the oil firm’s accounts in CBN include $18,770,418.97 in January; $194, 563, 276.49 in February; and $373, 232,875.20 in March.
Others were $247,884,295.52 remitted in April 2022: $591,565,425.41 in May; and $880,906,761.81 in June 2022.
The CBN refused to speak on the matter when contacted. Its spokesperson, Osita Nwanisobi, did not answer repeated calls to his mobile phone. He also did not respond to an SMS and a WhatsApp message sent to him on the matter.
The apex bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has been in the eye of the storm following the crash of the naira against the dollar. The local currency traded against the dollar at over N700/$ last week.
On Wednesday, the Senate decided to invite Emefiele to explain why the naira had kept losing value and to proffer the way forward.
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Following a motion sponsored by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, the Senate, apart from summoning Emefiele, also mandated its Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to critically look into the intervention funds CBN earmarked to support some sectors of the economy.
In his motion seeking Emefiele’s summoning, Adetumbi said the CBN’s earlier ban of forex sales to BDC operators caused a spike in exchange rate.
He said a few persons benefited from the import-export window meant to serve the forex needs of business enterprises.
The CBN has blamed the rapid depreciation in the value of the naira on numerous factors.
In 2018, it blamed the forex crisis on the importation of items that should have been manufactured in Nigeria, leading to the ban of forex allocation for 41 items.
In 2021, the blame was shifted to bureau de change operators, who were accused of illegal forex trading. This year, the bank blamed the forex crisis on money laundering and activities of those allegedly funding terrorism as well as politicians.
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