IT has been long in coming but it arrived upon us yesterday and Nigerians who long suspected that the nation was being bled through the fuel subsidy policy might be right after all! Laying bare the fraud that might have cost the country billions of Naira, the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee investigating the management of subsidy on petrol learnt yesterday that the Federal Government dutifully paid for 59 million litres of the product on a daily basis throughout year 2011, when the daily consumption capacity for the country was 35 million litres only. Shocked by this disclosure, the Committee expressed disappointment that the gap between what was paid for and the consumption capacity – 24 million litres daily – created ample room for all involved in the subsidy regime to rip off the nation.
Also, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday differed with the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) over the fuel subsidy figures for the year 2008. While NEITI on Monday put the amount at N360 billion, Group Managing Director, NNPC, Austin Oniwon, yesterday insisted before the Lawan panel of the House of Representatives that the figure was N630 billion. Oniwon argued that the NNPC at no time provided information to NEITI on its operations. “We have the document for N630 billion…The N1.348 trillion was the reconciled figure between NNPC, PPPRA (Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency) and Ministry of Finance.”