The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ajjampur R. Ghanashyam, has revealed the dubious practice by former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison Madueke in selling crude to India through intermediaries, thus denying Nigeria’s treasury of the full proceed.
India is now Nigeria’s number one crude buyer, an importation that grosses $15 billion yearly.
But under Diezani Alison-Madueke, commission agents creamed away some of the billions, when Nigeria’s treasury ought to have enjoyed the full benefit. Nigeria is the only oil producing nation selling its oil this way. Other nations make the sale, country-country.
“From other countries, when we buy oil, whatever we want to pay, we pay to the Ministry of Finance of that country. In Nigeria, we pay to intermediaries. We would like to be dealing directly with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It’s not a good thing. Why should we go through intermediaries?
“Secondly, we would also like to have long term agreement, which we have with many countries: Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other countries from where we buy oil. Nigeria is the only country with whom we don’t have an agreement. .. When we write a letter to NNPC, we don’t get a response,” Ghanashyam told Nigeria’s newspaper, Daily Trust.
The newspaper quoting NNPC 2014 Annual Statistical Bulletin reported that India bought 136,419,844 barrels of crude oil from Nigeria. The relationship continues.
The Indian High Commissioner added that apart from the lack of long-term agreement between the two countries on crude oil purchases, in 2006, an Indian company, Oil & Natural Gas Commission Videsh Limited (OVL) and Mittal Energy International, which is a joint venture between OVL, an Indian government company, and Mittal Energy a private firm, applied for oil concession. The Signature bonus sum of $25 million was paid, but neither was the oil concession granted nor the money paid returned to the Indian companies.
“How many years is it? Nine years. Even to get the concession is not possible, and the money is not refunded to us. For nine years your country has been sitting on this, and they make us go round and round and round. We buy $15 billion worth of crude oil per year and we have the potential of importing $50 billion worth of crude oil from Nigeria. We can buy more because our requirement is going up.
But if you continue to make us to pay through agents, and continue to ask us to buy from the swap market, it means you don’t trust us, and if you don’t trust us, we have to look for those who trust us more. We are making concessions to Nigeria by buying your crude oil because you’re our old friends and we’ve been friends for a long time, and your crude oil is better quality. But you must take our interest into account.”