A shocked Senate heard on Monday that Nigeria has no record of its oil and non-oil exports from June 2015 till date.
The sad news was made public by an official of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment during a public hearing on export and non-export activities.
President Muhammadu Buhari came into office on May 29, 2015 after he defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan in that year’s presidential election.
The Deputy Director in the ministry, Usman Ndanusa, who represented the minister at the hearing disclosed the facts 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 on “The Need to Investigate Pre-Shipment Inspection of Export Activities in Nigeria.”
Acording to Ndanusa, who represented the ministry at the session, the country had since June 2015 been exporting its oil and non-oil products without measurement and documentation.
He said that the development followed 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 insisted that since their engagements had no backing in law coupled with the fact that the Monitoring and Evaluation Agents being the federal government’s 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 the supervision of the agents.
The development, he noted, left the country at the mercy of the agents, adding that the country had no control of measurement of its oil and non-oil export commodities.
Ndanusa also disclosed that most of the terminals in the country had no comprehensive metering systems.
The Upper House, however, hinted that it had discovered over $850 billion earned from crude oil export by Nigeria between 1996 and 2014 which was not repatriated to the country by the Joint Venture Oil Companies (JVCs).
The Senate noted that the development contravened Nigeria’s Pre-Shipment Inspection of Export Act and Article 26 of Export Policy Guidelines and Procedures for Crude, Gas and Non-oil Goods.
The public hearing was prompted by a motion moved by Senator Abubakar Yusuf (APC, Taraba Central) in July, 2016 where he alleged that there had been gross violation of the Pre-Shipment Inspection of Exports Act by certain institutions of the government.
Declaring the hearing open earlier, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, while noting with dissatisfaction the refusal of the Joint Venture Oil Companies to repatriate crude oil export proceeds of over $850 billion between 1996 and 2014, warned the companies against flouting the laws of the country.