Subsidy Root of All Fraud in Oil Sector, Says Kyari
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kolo Kyari, has said that subsidy on petrol was removed because it was characterised by fraud perpetrated by members of a cabal.
According to him, the subsidy regime was no longer beneficial to the masses, who were the original target beneficiaries.
Kyari said that over N10 trillion was spent on fuel subsidy between 2006 and 2020 without a significant impact on the masses, but marketers, who were smuggling the subsidized petrol to neighbouring countries to make more profit, and others who faked documents to collect subsidy for fuel they never imported.
The NNPC boss, who made the comments during a Hausa Radio programme monitored in Kaduna at the weekend, said the fuel subsidy was the root of all the atrocities and fraud in the oil sector.
According to him, the government removed the subsidy with a plan to reinvest on projects that will have a direct impact on the masses.
“The crude oil is a global commodity and its price is not hidden, everyone can calculate and know how much is the cost of every final product from the crude at the international market. But, since the inception of oil importation, the government has been paying subsidy on petrol to make it cheaper for Nigerians to buy below the cost price.
“This subsidy is designed to assist Nigerians, that is the intention. But in reality, the masses are not the beneficiaries. First, the masses are not the owners of the exotic cars, buying fuel, owning the filling stations, and doing the oil business.
“This subsidy that the government has been paying over the years is the root of all the atrocities and fraud committed in this country. For example, if you look at it from 2006 till 2020, we have spent over N10trillion on fuel subsidy. Apart from that, there is also subsidy on foreign currencies, everybody knows how much is dollar in the market, but the government is also subsidising it. So, this and the fuel subsidy, within this period, have gulped between N14trillion and N15 trillion.
“It was not the masses of Nigeria that were enjoying this subsidy, except some members of a cabal, who are rich and powerful. They were enriching themselves with the subsidy money at the detriment of the masses who were the primary target.”
According to Kyari, “This money that has been wasted over the years cannot be justified. So, with the right leaders in place, this money should have been channeled to other areas of development.
“From this money, Nigeria has been able to pay workers’ salaries without retrenching despite the effects of the COVID-19 on the global economy. In the whole of West Africa, it is only Nigeria that didn’t retrench workers as a result of the pandemic. Apart from that, part of the money will be used to support farmers and other business owners.”
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