FG Spends N5trn On Fuel Subsidy …As Senate Suspends Security Summit To Honour Late Ekwueme

L-R: Suspended Director-General, Security and Exchange Commission, Mr Munir Gwazo, his lawyer, Mr James Kalu-Igwe (SAN) and the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, during a public hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions, on the need to intervene in the conflict between the Minister of Finance and Gwazo, at the National Assembly in Abuja, yesterday.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has told the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) investigating subsidy payment that the Federal Government spent N4.950.80 trillion in the exercise.
This is coming at a time President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has declared that NNPC stinks, vowing that those behind fraud in the corporation will be exposed.
Speaking at the hearing on subsidy payment, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru said out of the N5.121.40 trillion approved subsidy, the Federal Government has spent N4.950.80 trillion, with N170.6 billion outstanding arrears for January 2006-December 2015.
He said the figure was arrived at after deduction of N4.950.80 trillion received as payments from the N5.121.40 trillion approved subsidy claims of the corporation from January 2006 to December 2015.
Giving details of the accruals, Chief Financial Officer of the Corporation, Mr. Isiaka AbdulRazaq, traced the advent of the subsidy regime to October 2003, when NNPC was directed by government to commence the purchase of domestic crude oil at international market price without a corresponding liberalisation of the regulated price of petroleum products.
He explained that under the subsidy regime, NNPC and other suppliers of refined petroleum products were entitled to full subsidy claims to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
AbdulRasaq, however, noted that unlike other oil marketers, NNPC did not receive cash payment for subsidy claims as its subsidy claims were deducted out of cost payment to the Federation Account after due certification by PPPRA.
‘’In summary, NNPC submits that the amount of over N5.1 Trillion was duly approved by PPPRA as subsidy claims for NNPC. Out of this sum NNPC is still being owed N170.6 Billion,’’ the NNPC CFO said.
The Corporation called on the Senate Downstream Committee to assist in ensuring that the outstanding debt was settled to enable it effectively achieve its obligation as the supplier of last resort to the downstream sector.
Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Kabiru Marafa, commended NNPC for the elaborate presentation while pledging its support to all stakeholders in the sector to ensure uninterrupted supply and distribution of petroleum products
Meanwhile, Senate President, Saraki has revealed that the NNPC has remained a cistern of deep rooted corruption, illegality and abuse of financial procedures, despite frantic efforts to reform it.
Speaking at the commencement of the public hearing , Saraki said huge sum was spent on payment of fuel subsidy.
The Senate president, who was represented at the event by the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, expressed displeasure over what he described as secret and opaque re-introduction of subsidy in the pricing of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, without an approval of a budget by the National Assembly.
He regretted that “government has not done what we need to do to nip this problem in the bud.”
Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele and Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Services, Colonel Hammed Ali, failed the appear before the committee yesyterday.
According to the Senate President, ”findings have brought to light the fact that our downstream oil and gas industry needs critical reforms.”
He further stated that it has be exposed in “spite of the stoppage of the fuel subsidy regime, and the non-appropriation of funds for the scheme due to the fraud and mal-administration going on in the scheme, that fuel subsidy payments continue to be paid from our commonwealth illegally and without appropriation by the National Assembly to a few quietly in order to dodge scrutiny and avoid exposure.”
Meanwhile, the National Summit on Security being organised by the Senate has been postponed in honour of the late former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme who will be buried on Saturday.
The summit, scheduled to hold on February 1 and 5 at the Banquet Hall of the State House was to be declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari. A statement by the chairman of the Chairman, Senate ad-hoc committee on review of security infrastructure who is also the Majority Leader, Sen. Ahmed Lawan, stated that the postponement was to honour the late former Vice President, and to also enable Federal legislators, particularly those from the South-East, participate fully in the burial programme of the late elder statement.
Lawan said a new date for the summit would be announced in due course, and extend the committee’s apology to the invited dignitaries. The summit was organised to provide an all inclusive platform for heads of security and defence agencies, Governors, traditional rulers, socio-cultural groups, civil society organizations and others, with a view to finding solutions to acute and long term security challenges in the country. Though the now postponed summit was an initiative of the Senate as part of its contribution to the resolution of the rising security challenges, it is being convened in partnership with the Presidency to find a common solution to the issue.