The benefits of fuel subsidy payments by the federal government since 2006 only favoured members of the market cabal, the Group Manging Director of of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari,has said.
Kyari said that though the subsidy payment was targeted at benefitting the masses, it did not turn out so as only the cabal enjoyed the policy.
The GMD who spoke in an interview on a radio programme in Kaduna disclosed the discovery that the fuel subsidy regime was full of fraud led to its removal.
He explained, “The crude oil is a global commodity and its price is not hidden, everyone can calculate and know how much is the cost of every final product from the crude at the international market.
Kyari said that by removing the subsidy payments what the government saves from it will be used to develop the country for the good of the people.
According to him, “This subsidy is designed to assist Nigerians, that is the intention. But in reality, the masses are not the beneficiaries. First, the masses are not the owners of the exotic cars, buying fuel, owning the filling stations, and doing the oil business.
“This subsidy that the government has been paying over the years is the root of all the atrocities and fraud committed in this country.
“For example, if you look at it from 2006 till 2020, we have spent over N10 trillion on fuel subsidy. Apart from that, there is also subsidy on foreign currencies, everybody knows how much is dollar in the market, but the government is also subsidising it. So, this and the fuel subsidy, within this period, have gulped between N14 trillion and N15 trillion.
“It was not the masses of Nigeria that were enjoying this subsidy, except some members of a market cabal, who are rich and powerful. They were enriching themselves with the subsidy money at the detriment of the masses who were the primary target.”
“From this money, Nigeria has been able to pay workers’ salaries without retrenching despite the effects of the COVID-19 on the global economy,” he said.
“In the whole of West Africa, it is only Nigeria that didn’t retrench workers as a result of the pandemic. Apart from that, part of the money will be used to support farmers and other business owners.”
Meanwhile. the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Monday said the sum of N8.9 trillion was spent on fuel subsidy by the federal government between 2006 and 2015.
A breakdown by the PPPRA showed that N257.36 billion, N271.51 billion, N630.57 billion, N409.31 billion, and N667.08 billion were in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 respectively
The breakdown further showed that in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, the sum of N2.1 trillion, N1.35 trillion, N1.32 trillion, N1.22 trillion and N653.51 billion were spent respectively.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said that based on the high cost of sustaining fuel subsidy payment, the federal government had no choice to end the subsidy under the current coronavirus pandemic.