The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Monday that it was being owed N170.6 billion paid to marketers as subsidy between 2006 and 2015.
The claim came as Senate President Bukola Saraki charged the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to investigate and determine the actual litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) consumed nationwide on a daily basis.
The figure of N170.6 billion was revealed by the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mr. Maikanti Baru, at the hearing by the committee into N5 trillion subsidy payments between 2006 and 2015.
“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 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.
Speaking further on the payments, the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of the NNPC, Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazak, said 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, Abdulrazak 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.
Saraki, speaking earlier when he declared the hearing open, 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 in trillions under an opaque process.
Represented by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, he added that the recent report of the committee showed that despite the stoppage of the fuel subsidy regime, payments continued to be paid illegally and without appropriation to a few quietly in order to dodge scrutiny and avoid exposure.
“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 government has not done what we need to do to nip this problem in the bud,” Saraki said.
He, however, gave the assurance that the eighth Senate would expose those involved in corruption in the system, no matter their societal standing.
According to him: “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 the recently passed Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, when signed into law, had the potential of eliminating the present distortions in the system and sanitise the governance of the oil and gas industry of corruption and the rot in the system.
“It will introduce the 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,” the Senate president said.