The Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum, Mr Orman Esin has said that the state government loses not less than N100m monthly as revenue from the petroleum sector.
Esin revealed this in Uyo on Tuesday while defending the ministry’s budget for 2017 before the state House of Assembly Committee on Appropriation and Finance.
He said that over 44 oil servicing companies and 11 oil producing companies were currently operating within the state without remitting due revenue while 95 percent of such companies operating in the state had not signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with their host communities.
“Akwa Ibom State has over the years been losing over N100m from the petroleum sector.
“Over 11 oil producing and 44 oil servicing companies operating within the state, but none pays revenue to the state.
“Although oil and gas exploration is on the exclusive list of the Federal Government, companies operating in communities across the state are however expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with their communities of operation.
“Over 95 per cent are yet to comply with such provision,” Esin said.
He noted that virtually all the oil producing and oil servicing companies in the state had no operational base within the state which deprived indigenes of the expected employment opportunities.
The commissioner therefore urged the committee to increase the ministry’s budget by additional N4.143b to the appropriated N2.19 billion to cater for the development of the petroleum sector, recently added to his ministry.
Esin said that the ministry during the 2016 appropriation year, had a total budget outlay of N2.8b, with nil release during the fiscal year.
He said plans were at advanced stage to rehabilitate the marine transportation sector in the state.
According to him, his ministry has contacted private partners to bring in ferry to ply Uyo-Calabar waterways to ease road transport congestion.
The commissioner pledged to improve the revenue base of his ministry.
He said that steps had been taken to motivate revenue agents through incentives and orientation to better equip them with acceptable public relations disposition.
Speaking, the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Mr Usoro Akpanusoh, expressed optimism that the ministry had great potential to generate huge revenue to the state.
He therefore requested for a list of all sources of revenue and consultants in the ministry to enable the legislature further engage them.
Akpanusoh advised ministries to prioritise their programmes and budgets in order of importance during this period of recession to be able to record achievements.
He noted that there was conflicts and overlapping of functions in government ministries, agencies and departments and called for proper definition of roles.