The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has been harangued by the country’s senate for over 210 per cent subsidy it claimed from March to May 2018 – which skyrocketed from N774m to N2.4bn daily during the period.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream and Upstream), Senator Sabo Nakudu, regretted that the sole importer of petroleum products claimed N843.12bn and over N1tn as under-recoveries for 2018 and 2019 as against the average N511bn yearly in a decade-long subsidy regime.
Speaking on Wednesday at the joint hearing on ‘Exiting Petroleum Subsidy: Ensuring Self-sufficiency in Domestic Refining of Petroleum Products’ in Abuja, he said the arbitrary and unsupervised deductions in the name of under-recovery from the country’s crude account without recourse to any enabling law was at variance with Section 80 (1, 2, 3, and 4) of the 1999 Constitution.
Nakudu stated, “The NNPC Act, which empowers the corporation to submit to the National Council of Ministers, not later than three months before the end of each financial year, estimates of its expenditure and income relating to the next financial year, does not negate the supremacy of the constitution on appropriation matters.
“The constitution is very clear on the role of the National Assembly in appropriating funds belonging to the federation, and did not exempt anyone.”
According to him, the non-audit of the NNPC budget by the National Assembly makes its oversight role on the national oil company very difficult, if not nearly impossible, urging immediate redress.
The committee chair said it was high time Nigeria exited fuel subsidy, redirecting the huge resources to meaningful projects that would benefit majority of the citizens.
The lawmaker appealed to stakeholders to contribute meaningfully to end the subsidy regime.
However, the Group Managing Direction (GMD) of NNPC, Melee Kyari, remarked that the free fall of oil prices on account COVID-19 was novel.
“No country is prepared for the price fall from $50 per barrel to less than $10. Nobody saw it coming. The result of this is revenue collapse because there is a direct correlation,” he submitted.