The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Monday that it paid product marketers N170.6 billion as subsidy between 2006 and 2015.

The NNPC made this statement after the Senate President Bukola Saraki had asked the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to investigate and determine the actual quantity of products consumed in the country on a daily basis.

NNPC Group Managing Director, Mr. Maikanti Baru, gave the figure of  N170.6 billion at the hearing by the committee into N5 trillion subsidy payments between 2006 and 2015.His word; “NNPC is going to address essentially what it has incurred in terms of subsidy payments between 2006 and 2015, and what was paid to it under the scheme. We have it on record that NNPC incurred N5.1214 trillion as the subsidy, approved by the regulatory agency, PPPRA, and it has only paid N4.9508 trillion. It is still being owed by the federation N170.6 billion,” Baru said.

The Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of the NNPC, Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazak, added that all subsidy claims and entitlements for the corporation were meticulously verified and approved by PPPRA with relevant certificates issued. The subsidy approved for NNPC was backed out of Domestic Crude Cost payable to the Federation Account Allocation Committee, He said. “In summary, NNPC submits that the amount of N5.1 trillion was duly approved by PPPRA as subsidy claims for the corporation. Out of this sum, NNPC is still owed N170.6 billion. Consequently, NNPC seeks the understanding of the distinguished members of the committee on the peculiarity of its operations and its role as a supplier of last resort in the downstream sector of the economy,” the CFO added.

Mr. Saraki had at the earlier at the opening of the hearing, said the fuel subsidy scheme was designed to reduce the burden on the poor but had become the cash cow of a few who continued to milk the country dry through an opaque process.

Represented by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, he further said that the recent report of the committee shows that despite the stoppage of the fuel subsidy regime, payments were still being paid without appropriation. He said “The mere fact that we are here again today to discuss this issue shows that those who benefit from this grand deception are not willing to let loose and the government has not done what we need to do to nip this problem in the bud,”

He promised that the eighth Senate would expose those involved in corruption in the system, no matter their societal standing. saying:: “Other questions this committee must seek answers to are: What is the actual quantity of fuel the Nigerian market consumes? What are the underlining reasons why the market is struggling to operate without government intervention, in other words, why the reoccurring scarcity? Third and equally crucial is the process and all those involved in signing out unbudgeted funds outside the budget passed by the National Assembly.”

Saraki said  Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, when signed into law,
“will introduce market competition that would bring efficiency to the system. It is our hope that this will set the tone for the necessary institutional reform required to clean this all-important industry of opacity and maladministration,”

Uzo Nzeogu
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