Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, in Abuja, on Tuesday, denied that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) received N1.329 trillion as subsidy payments over three years (2009 to 2011) from the Central Bank of Nigeria as alleged by the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives on Subsidy Regime.
The ad hoc committee report had alleged that “NNPC deducted directly the sum of N408.255 billion (in addition to the payment of N81.648 billion by CBN in 2009, the sum of N407.801 billion (in addition of the payment of N402.423 billion by CBN) in 2010 and the sum of N847.942 billion (in addition to the payment of N844.944 billion by CBN) for 2011, contrary to Section 162 of the 1999 constitution (as amended).”
This claim, the minister said, was totally baseless, false and without foundation.
Alison-Madueke, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja, strongly reiterated that subsidy payments to NNPC were not based on cash remittance and, therefore, CBN could not have remitted any cash to NNPC for the purpose of subsidy.
“The mechanics of subsidy recovery by NNPC,” she said, “is non-fund based, but by way of credit to NNPC against domestic crude cost due. When approval certificates are received from Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), their values are deducted from crude oil cost due in a given month, after due consideration of what is approved.”
Alison-Madueke added that “all such approvals and deductions are regularly copied to other relevant agencies of government, such as Federal Ministry of Finance, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Budget Office of the Federation, Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) and Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission
“In the advice on subsidy deductions forwarded to finance ministry, NNPC always state that ‘in line with presidential directives, the finance ministry should authorise the Accountant General of the Federation to source for the approved subsidy amount and transfer same to the Federation Account for onward distribution by FAAC.”
She lambasted the ad hoc committee for doing a shoddy but hatchet job.
In her words, “it is grossly inaccurate and misleading for the ad hoc committee to claim that NNPC made “double deduction” by deducting subsidy at source and simultaneously receiving payment for the same purpose from CBN.”
The conclusion by the committee of double payments to NNPC, she observed, “obviously accounts for the erroneous and outrageous sum of N2.587,087 trillion as total subsidy payment for 2011 as stated in the report.
NNPC, she noted, believed that the ad hoc committee’s proceedings was serious and important assignment for the nation for the purpose of “verifying and determining actual subsidy requirement… and put to rest the issue of subsidy once and for all.
“It is unfortunate that the wide allegations, suppositions and conjectures, which form the basis of their conclusion, actually did more damage to the objectives than verify subsidy requirement. Furthermore, such reckless allegation is capable of inciting the public against the Corporation and its personnel.”
The minister called on the Federal Government, the security agencies and all well-meaning Nigerians to demand full disclosure on this allegation, in order to set the records straight.
She asked the ad hoc committee to disclose the source of their data, while it must also disclose to the nation the demand note for the payment, the bank and account to which the amount was paid and the purpose for which the money was expended and by who.
“If this is not done, the story of subsidy in Nigeria would never be closed,” she added.