Early this year, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced that there will be a removal of fuel subsidy which led to an increase in the price of fuel from N65 to N141 per litre. After massive protests, the price was reverted back to N97.
The Federal Government’s excuse in simple language was that the government could no longer pay subsidies on the price of fuel and would like to use that money for other developmental projects in the country.
It is therefore sad and shocking to see that Nigerians have been cheated all along!
In what can be described as the biggest scam of all times, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and 72 other firms have been asked to refund N1.07tn said to have been fraudulently paid to oil marketers.
The House of Representatives probe panel on subsidy fund mismanagement also recommended that the Office of the Accountant–General which allegedly paid N127.8bn within 24 hours to unknown beneficiaries should return the money. The AGF paid N999m 28 times in one day to the “unknown entities.”
This was contained in the report of the House AdHoc Committee on Monitoring of the Subsidy Regime, led by Hon. Farouk Lawal, submitted on Wednesday 18th April, 2012.
The committee, which was set up in the wake of the nationwide uproar that greeted the January removal of subsidy on fuel by the Federal Government and the controversies arising from the management of the subsidy fund revealed that “more than 900 per cent over the appropriated sum of N245bn” originally budgeted for subsidy in the 2011 budget was allegedly spent on fuel subsidies last year.
A breakdown of the N1.07tn recommended for refund showed that the NNPC would return N310.4bn for subsidy it fraudulently claimed for kerosene.
The PPPRA was asked to refund N312bn it paid to itself, while the marketers who “violated Petroleum Subsidy Fund” were directed to return N8.6bn to government treasury.
In the category of defaulting firms, who also “refused to appear” before the panel, it recommended the recovery of N41.9bn.
The panel raised the alarm over the existence of “unnamed entities,” which it said claimed N999m “128 times to the tune of N127.8bn.”
The report goes on to recommend that the NNPC be unbundled to make its operations more efficient and transparent, through the passage of a well-drafted and comprehensive Petroleum Industry Bill.
So much money looted, so much corruption within highly placed petroleum regulatory bodies like the NNPC and PPPRA. It’s really sad.
But more sad that when Nigerians were losing their lives on the streets protesting the removal of the fuel subsidies, the money was there all along, stolen by a few greedy people.
Such looting of funds that we hear of in the news daily goes a long way to show that Nigeria is a very wealthy nation, with vast resources and funds that can adequately cater for the teeming population. If only the people at the helm of affais, those managing public funds would keep their greedy hands off them and use it for the good of the nation, Nigeria would be a much better place to live in.
News Source: Punch News
Photo Credit: CNN