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Reps end fuel subsidy probe

Friday February 10, 2012

Photo: Sun News Publishing
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Fresh revelations on the scam that trailed subsidy payments on fuel and kerosene emerged yesterday, as the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee probing the subsidy regime vowed to ensure the prosecution of individuals and firms found guilty in the scam.

The three-week probe headed by Faruk Lawan came to an end yesterday.
The Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Austen Oniwon, and the Executive Secretary of Petroleum, Pricing, Products, Regulatory, Agency and others failed to provide reason on why kerosene is sold at N130 against the subsidised price of N50.

The GMD had said the subsidised price was N40.90k and the retail price in NNPC filling stations was N50 but could not answer questions on why Nigerians were buying at a different price. The Managing Director of Pipeline Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Mr. Heron Momoh, caused uproar when he said the retail price of kerosene was between N75 in Lagos and N80 and N90 in other places.

Following the reaction of the audience, the Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Mr. Stanley Reginald was asked to state the price kerosene was sold. He had a contrary figure when he told the committee that the retail price of kerosene was N130 per litre in most filling stations across the country. Asked the amount kerosene was subsidized, Reginald said the non-subsidised price of kerosene wasN151 and the subsidised retail price from the original price of the subsidised price of N40.90k.

The Managing Director of Directorate of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Olorunsola also said, the retail price was between N75 and N130 “but the average price is within the region of N130.” The Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. John Otunba was taken to task as to what exact role he plays in the payment of subsidy, he told the members that “because the figures are already subjected to audit.” “If the need arises that there are discrepancies all we need do is to find the sources of differences because accounting can be very dynamic.”
The accounting firm of NNPC, Olympia Adelaide and Co, represented by Kevin’s Oyster could not give the volume of petroleum products imported from Cotonou offshore by the national corporation.

The committee on fuel subsidy had asked the NNPC GMD why he flagrantly went ahead to supply kerosene without a written instruction from the presidency when there was actually a suspension on kerosene subsidy.
The GMD had explained that the late Umaru Yar’Adua had set up an implementation committee to look into the kerosene issue but unfortunately he was incapacitated and it was discovered that the price of deregulated kerosene would be N150 higher than fuel which had at that time reduced from N70 to N65.

It was then agreed that it would be improper for kerosene to be higher than PM and we had to supply fuel at a subsidised rate and “I had pledged to this Honourable House when summoned last year that I will not sell kerosene beyond N50.” The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Faruk Lawan had probed further that “you went ahead to make payment for the kerosene without authorisation, Oniwon had insisted that he never violated any law or instruction because as at that time the president was incapacitated.-Sun

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