Reintroduction of fuel subsidy is fraudulent, says Saraki

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has said the reintroduction of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is fraudulent and filled with discrepancies.

Reacting to the ongoing investigation into the discrepancies in fuel subsidy on Wednesday, Saraki said a bigger fraud is being perpetrated as the amount of petrol allegedly coming into Nigeria was bogus and suspicious.

“We consume about 27 million litres a day, while it has been alleged that 40 million litres a day of PMS is being brought in. There is a discrepancy somewhere.”

He said at the end of the day, Nigerians are going to bear the burden of paying for the subsidy. “At the end of the day, it is Nigerians that are paying for this subsidy fraud because it is not transparent, and it is only being run by one MDA (ministries, departments and agencies).

According to him, ongoing debates in the senate were aimed at enforcing reforms in the oil and gas sector, including bringing an end to the lingering fuel scarcity. “Today, the senate debated the interim report of the senate committee on downstream petroleum on the fuel scarcity crisis in the country,” Saraki said.

“This interim report stirred up a debate on the floor about the ongoing scarcity, the subsidy regime and ways to make the oil and gas sector more efficient.”

Commenting on some of the reforms, he said the senate committee would look into issues bordering on ending fuel scarcity and uncovering “fuel subsidy fraud”.

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“I spent a lot of time on this fuel subsidy issue during the seventh senate (2011 to 2015). It was my motion that brought this topic to the national discourse — hence, it is something that I know a lot about,” the statement read.

“The first (issue) is, even as we speak now, there are still queues. The issue of the ongoing scarcity is one problem that the committee needs to go back to look into so that Nigerians can be reassured that this will not reoccur.

“The second problem is that the subsidy is important, however, based on the figures that have been presented,

“The third problem has to do with the principle of MDAs incurring expenditures without the necessary approval by the legislature.

Saraki said sub-committees would be assigned to look into the aforementioned issues for a full scope resolution.