17 January 2012
More details into the quagmire of oil subsidy removal scandal presently unfolding within the Jonathan administration appears to be making its way into the public arena. This is as the house of representative committee charged with investigating the management of funds related to fuel subsidy began public inquiry into the process of subsidy payments by the Federal Government of Nigeria to select licenced marketers of petrol and kerosene.
Yesterday, the finance minister, Okonjo Iweala honored the invitation of the [adhoc] committee. The committee quizzed her on the finance ministry’s involvement in the oil subsidy process. In her exchanges with the committee, the minister made it clear that all monies made from crude oil through NNPC and partners – are not paid directly into the federal accounts of the nation. The minister stated that the monies for the oil subsidy are withdrawn before it gets to the national accounts – of which she accented by noting that it was unconstitutional for the NNPC to deduct any monies from Nigeria’s crude oil revenues before payment into the national accounts.
However the Petroleum Resources Minister’s appearance before the adhoc committee today discounts the finance minister’s accession as untrue. The Minister pointed blame to the finance minister for the authorization of the N1.3trillion payment for oil subsidy. This she noted repeatedly while adding that the N1.3trillion may have been misleading to the Nigerian public.
The Petroleum Minister admitted under questioning from Hon Lawan Farouk that the N1.3trillion was not only paid for petrol subsidy – that the sum contained arrears for Kerosene and Petrol subsidy dating back to 2008 – thus giving the impression to the Nigerian public that the nation was disbursing disturbing amounts of money for the payment of petrol subsidy. She admitted also that only N250billion out of the N1.3trillion was paid for petrol subsidy.