States on Monday condemned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation over the manner it administers the fuel subsidy regime.
Chairman of State Commissioners of Finance Forum, David Olofu, who stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents, said states were aware that NNPC was making subsidy deductions from its revenue before remitting funds to the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee.
He, however, lamented that there was nothing they could do since President Muhammadu Buhari who is also the Minister of Petroleum Resources, must be aware of the issue.
Olofu urged the National Assembly to look into activities of NNPC, which he described as non-transparent.
He said this as oil price hit $84 on Monday with the rise pushing the subsidy cost being incurred by the Federal Government to N8.28bn daily.
Although the Federal Government did not make provisions for petrol subsidy in the 2022 budget, NNPC on Sunday said it would continue to subsidise the supply of petrol.
The corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Garba-Deen Muhammad, told one of our correspondents that fuel subsidy would not be stopped until government and labour concluded their talks on the issue.
NNPC, had in April alerted federal and state governments to its dwindling contribution to the federation account as a result of the subsidy.
Commenting on the issue, the Finance Commissioners’ Forum chairman, Olofu, called on the National Assembly to live up to its responsibility by looking into the activities of NNPC.
The forum chairman said that NNPC had all along been carrying on as a government on its own.
When asked what the forum would do on fuel subsidy deductions, the chairman stated, “It is not about state commissioners allowing that (deduction of oil subsidy), but it is about the federation, whether the country will continue to allow that.
“We have allowed that all this while; the opaque nature that NNPC has indulged in. It has carried on as government onto itself. We are aware that the deductions are going to continue.
“Right now, there is nothing anybody can do because the President is also the Minister of Petroleum so it makes it very difficult for us because there is nothing the NNPC can do without the approval of the Minister of Petroleum.”
When asked of the likely effects of the deduction to states in the coming year, Olofu said that states had been and would continue to be at the receiving end.
He stated, “The likely effect even right now is that we will continue not to get what is due to us as states of the federation.”
The commissioner added, “I think the National Assembly that has the responsibility of oversight on federal institutions and should rise to its responsibility to ensure that those things change.
“As commissioners, there is nothing we can do apart from raising our voices, but the National Assembly has the constitutional responsibility of oversight in this matter and it needs to do the needful.
“We have always raised issues on the lack of transparency and accountability of NNPC at all FAAC meetings and we will continue to raise it. In fact, we are on the same page with the federal ministry of finance as far as lack of transparency in NNPC is concerned.
“It is not a new thing, it is something we have been battling with overtime and we will continue to raise it until the President is able to wield the big stick on NNPC,” Olofu said.
The Delta State Government also berated the NNPC for not being transparent in the manner it was handling the issue of subsidy and consumption of the fuel.