With effect from June this year, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) will begin third forensic audit of all unremitted deductions by oil and gas companies meant for the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF). The impending exercise was announced by the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote at the two-day Stakeholders Sensitization Workshop on NCDF Remittances Template under Treasury Single Account (TSA) in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which started yesterday at Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos.
In his keynote address, Mr. Wabote explained that the workshop was convened for two main reasons: To sensitize stakeholders on how to remit the 1% deductions from petroleum upstream contracts into the Board’s TSA account with the CBN; and secondly, to intimate the industry of the commencement of third party forensic audit, which will trace and recover all unremitted NCDF deductions from concerned companies.
He reiterated that the 1% deduction from contracts awarded in the petroleum upstream sector is a statutory obligation, as provided under section 104 of the NOGICD Act, 2010. Consequently, failure to remit NCDF deductions is a violation of the Act and, in fact, economic sabotage. He frowned at the artful ways some stakeholders have tried to evade paying the levy thereby frustrating the lofty idea behind the establishment of the Fund. He reminded participants that the Fund was established to support the development of local capacities for the Oil and Gas Industry.
He hinted that the workshop became necessary in view of feedback by stakeholders about glitches they encounter in making remittances through the CBN TSA Platform. “As a responsive organization, we felt it expedient to walk users through the processes and procedures under the platform to minimize hiccups and ensure online real-time and seamless remittances”, he added. He assured participants that the resource persons drawn from CBN and System Spec Group, the operators of the REMITA platform would clarify and guide users of the platform to operate it with easy and efficiency after the workshop. He commended companies that have been remitting faithfully, but warned that defaulting companies would be sanctioned, unless they take quick steps to approach the Board and clear the arrears before they are found out by the forensic audit.
In his presentation, Mr. Jack Ukitetu, Deputy Director, CBN explained the processes and procedure for remittances of NCDF in foreign currencies into the Board’s TSA account with CBN, while Mr. Dogara Usman of System Spec Group walked the participants through the NCDF Remittance Template in Naira payments via the REMITA platform in CBN.