Former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and immediate past Emir of Kano, HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II, has said Nigeria is investing its scarce resources to subsidize Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol that never arrived at the country’s shores.
The former CBN governor described the controversial fuel subsidy regime as a “scam”, used by some people to extort money from the government.
Sanusi made this known during an interview session on Arise TV, monitored by The New Diplomat, Friday.
Speaking further, the former CBN governor accused some fuel importers of forging figures and manufacturing fake documents to swindle the Nigerian government up to the tune of several billions of naira monthly.
The New Diplomat recalls the ministry of finance had recently disclosed that subsidy alone gulps N150billion of government revenue every month, which shows an unsustainable yearly sum of N1.8trillion.
Also, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had on Tuesday disclosed that it will deduct N149.28 billion spent on petrol subsidy in August, 2021 from its contribution to Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) revenue distributions in the month of October.
With no provision for petrol subsidy in 2021 Budget, NNPC has resorted to direct deduction from FAAC remittance, which it terms ‘value shortfall’ in its books.
Sanusi, in his explanation, recalled that a former Minister of State for Petroleum and former Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu had disclosed in 2016 that Nigeria was importing 13 million litres of petrol daily. However, in 2019, the NNPC revealed that the country was importing 59 million litres daily, representing over 100% increase in just three years.
The former CBN governor who described the figures as forged lamented the sudden rise in the figure of imported fuel on the grounds that the nation’s population, economy, and numbers of cars had not increased in the same period to warrant the astronomical increase in the bloated figure.
In his words: “We have this thing called the subsidy, which is really a scam. Everything that comes in, goes right back out to import petroleum products. I’m not saying these subsidies are bad. Look at the numbers in 2016, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Emmanuel Kachikwu came out and said, having a limited edition, they discovered that Nigeria was importing 13 million litres of petroleum products daily. At that time it was $40 per barrel.
“In 2019, NNPC came out and said Nigeria is importing 59 million litres daily. If you ask them, they’ll tell you 60 or 70 million litres daily. How did we move from 13 million to 60 million litres in an environment where the economic is not growing? We’ve not doubled the number of cars, we have not doubled on population. Most of those numbers are forged.”
Speaking further, Sanusi explained how some powerful individuals are conspiring to steal funds from the government under the guise of subsidy payment. He, however failed to disclose names of the individual perpetrating the crimes.
“When I raised alarm over the fuel subsidy crisis, the federal government had set up a committee. The committee discovered that people were manufacturing bills of lading. People would sit down and produce bills of lading and say that this vessel came to Lagos, if you check the register that vessel was nowhere near that location on that day. In fact, some of the vessels on those bills of lading are vessels that had been retired decades ago. People just have their names and the records of these vessels, they produce the documents and someone in the customs stamped that the petrol actually came. Based on that someone will pay it.
“Lots of the petrol subsidy that we say is being paid are from factoid fuel that never came to the country. When we’re investigating what happened under Diezani, the PWC audit report, the claims by NNPC that has been importing petroleum products, PWC saw a letter from DPR wherein it was contained that they told the NNPC that waved the requirement for documentation in the past that they should go and sin no more. Where does DPR get the power to wave the responsibility to produce evidence that you actually imported a fuel as the basis for collecting a subsidy?” Sanusi quipped.