The Senate has summoned Nigeria Independent Petroleum Company,NIPCO,Amalgamated Oil Company of Nigeria ( AMOCON ), Pinnacle Oil , Dangote and other companies to to explain the N130 billion they had received from the Central Bank of Nigeria as intervention fund for the Nigeria Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP).
The companies would appear before the Senate Committee on Gas on Thursday , November 30,this year,according to the invite signed by its Chairman, Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe,and made available to Premium News on Sunday.
The 15 companies are required to appear before the committee with their progress reports stating location of projects and the current status of the projects,the committee said in the letter.
Premium News reports that the breakdown of the disbursed funds to the companies showed that NIPCO Gas Limited received N25 billion; NIPCO Plc received N5 billion; AMOCON N5 billion ; Hyde Energy Limited received N2 billion; Delta State government N20 billion; Dangote N5 billion; Greenville LNG N10 billion ; Gas Nexus N10 billion; Pinnacle Oil and Gas N10 billion; Lee Engineering N15 billion among others.
Analysis of the funds released shows that NIPCO Group got the highest of N35 billion ,amounting to about 30⅚ of the money inclusive of that of AMOCON .
Premium News recalls that the sum of N250 billion was set aside by Federal Government through Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN ) as funds to aid national gas expansion programme at concessionary interest rate few years ago under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari .
There has been apprehension over proper utilisation of the funds fuelling speculations that the beneficiaries may have diverted the funds that meant for the project that would have deepen gas consumption in the country.
Besides,stakeholders are worried that the actual utilisation of the money was shrouded in secrecy by most beneficiaries,who have kept sealed lips since they collected the fund.
Sources close to the committee told Premium News that they may visit some of the projects to be listed by the beneficiaries for on-the spot check
Meanwhile,stakeholders in the nation’s gas sector have commended the action of the Senate Committee on Gas,saying it was a right step in the right direction to stem the tide of corruption in the country’s oil and gas sector.
They told Premium News that the Senate’s probe of the N130billion gas expansion projects represent a new lease of life for the sector,as well as deviates from the old ways of seeing government money as funds that can be diverted from its original purpose of disbursement,thus defeating the intended purpose.
They implored the lawmakers to wield the big sticks on companies found wanting in the diversion of the fund,with a view to serving as deterrent to others