Fuel Subsidy Fraud: Lawmakers Agree To Probe N5.1 Trillion Subsidy Payments

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The Nigeria Senate is set to probe the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over mismanagement and fuel subsidy fraud to the tune of N5.1 trillion between 2006 and 2015.

Sen. Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), drew the attention of the Senate to the need to probe transactions involving importation of petroleum products into the country.

According to Melaye, all the oil marketers currently facing trial over alleged subsidy fraud are only responsible for 49 per cent of imported refined products.

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Melaye said:

“Surprisingly you (the Senate President, Bukola Saraki) are one of those who raised the issue of subsidy in the Seventh Senate. The Federal Government is prosecuting marketers and these marketers only constitute 49 per cent of imported refined products. The NNPC is responsible for the importation of 51 per cent.”

“While we are prosecuting the independent marketers whose proceed from subsidy is about N3.83 trillion, NNPC collected a total of N5.1 trillion on subsidy and this has never been investigated and we are busy chasing independent marketers. The time to look at the books of NNPC as regards petroleum subsidy is now.”

“We have taken the lead in the fight against corruption in this chamber and I want to say we must do everything within our powers to investigate and bring whoever is found wanting to book.”

Saraki gave nod to the plea by Melaye, who had sought the permission of the chamber to sponsor a motion today. “Thank you Senator Melaye for that radical performance,” Saraki said.

Saraki continued:

Melaye, we expect this motion tomorrow (today) and it is a very serious issue. It goes to the core of the fight against corruption and also the issue of NNPC which is a great source of revenue for all of us. We will wait for that motion today.”

Also a motion sponsored by Oluremi Tinubu, warned that the inability of the Federal Government to repay its debts would adversely affect the economy.

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“The inability of the government to pay its debts will have serious effects on our economy. I know that the Federal Government is making efforts to ensure that they pay their debts. That is why they are trying to raise international bonds. I urge them to hurry up so they can pay these debts,”

Adopting the motion, titled “The urgent need for the Federal Government to redeem local contractors’ debts,” the lawmakers expressed worry that the inability of the government to repay the debts is already negatively affecting the economy.

Tinubu said any further delay in servicing these debts might adversely affect business organisations operating in the country, especially banks, owing to the fact that many businesses are indebted to the financial organisations.