President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari administration of perpetuating fraud in its handling of subsidy on petroleum products, alleging that a whopping N2.4 billion was being used to subsidise fuel daily in Nigeria.
Saraki also expressed doubts over claims by the administration that the amount was being used to subsidise a daily consumption of 50 million litres of fuel everyday.
Saraki, who spoke on Kakaaki, a Current Affairs programme on Africa Independent Television (AIT) yesterday, said it was “shocking and alarming” that the current administration in the country claimed that Nigerians were consuming 50 million litres of fuel every day and for two years, ran a subsidy programme without appropriation from the National Assembly.
“What type of integrity are we talking about when a government claims to have been spending N2.4 billion? We have the (Senator Kabir) Marafa committee set up to look into it, but we have always met a brick wall.
“For two years, we made several cases to the executive that the subsidy claims must be presented for appropriation because we cannot continue to rely on the arguments by the executive that it was only spending money on under recovery.
“We have set up a panel to look into it, but its activities are being frustrated because we have a government where its executive does not believe that it is accountable to the National Assembly.
“We have done our part to raise it and to do as much as possible to expose what is going on. The way subsidy is being managed now at N50 million a day is fraud. It’s not possible,” he said.
However, Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Kabir Marafa, has disagreed with Saraki on the issue.
He said Nigeria was not paying up to N2.4 billion to subsidise fuel daily.
Marafa, while reacting to Saraki’s comment in an interview with journalists in Abuja, noted that his committee’s findings revealed that Nigerians were not consuming more than 30 million litres of fuel per day.
He also said that it was not possible for the nation to spend up to N2.4 billion everyday to subsidise fuel.
“It is not possible to spend N2.4 billion on subsidy in Nigeria every day. Even though we don’t have the exact figure, but it ranges between 25 to 35 million per day, depending on the circumstances.
“Even if we are selling 30 million litres per day at N145 per litre, it will amount to N4.3 billion. If you say that government is subsidizing by N2.4 billion, are we saying that government is selling at half of the amount?
“The landing cost of PMS (Petrol) is N180 per litre, that means government is subsidizing maximum N40 per litre. If you multiply that with 30 million litres, it cannot be up to N2.4 billion.
“I don’t want to join issues with the Senate President. I don’t know the particular committee he mandated to carry out his investigations, but if he said so, it must be for the purpose of winning elections.
“From the records at my disposal, Nigeria is not consuming 50 million litres per day. It is not possible. Even if the nation is paying subsidy at all, it is being taken from the running cost of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),” Marafa said.