States to determine oil subsidy payment henceforth-Governors

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Governors of the 36 states of the federation are calling for states rather than the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to determine how much is paid as subsidy by government.

The governors under the aegis of Nigerian Governors’ Forum said that individual state will determine the quantity of petroleum product consumed in its territory as a basis for calculating the subsidy to be paid.

“You see, we are in the hands of these people (NNPC) and we are trying to be cautious. Not just NNPC, even Nigerians are not helping matters because when there is shortfall in the product, everybody will start making noise. And you will not know why there is shortfall, said Abdelaziz Yari, Zamfara governor who is also the chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum.

“If we start to investigate, these people will create chaos that we will regret and Nigerians will not look at the damage from the base. But rather, they will start accusing government of laxity or not doing what it is supposed to be doing.

“So, it’s not about investigation. It’s about knowing what’s going to happen to future supply.  And this supply, the destination must be set.

“That’s is why we gave the states the responsibility to go back and ascertain the quantity needed by each and every state.”

The National Economic Council (NEC) led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, which is currently in session is expected to endorse the move.

The governors who met Wednesday night on the platform of Nigeria Governors Forum, at their Maitama, Abuja office, are uncomfortable with the amount Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is claiming to pay as subsidy as well as the corporation’s stated quantity of local consumption.

With dwindling accruals to states, NNPC has told the governors that it is now paying subsidy on 60 million liters daily consumption up from 33 million liters a few months ago.

Briefing newsmen last night at the end of the NGF meeting which ended at 11:30pm Wednesday night, its chairman and Zamfara state governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said “if states say our demand is 30 million liters, you cannot say you brought 60 million liters for us.

“We are taking every situation carefully so that we don’t endanger the security situation of the country and at same time, we do not play into the hands of the NNPC.”

He said however that the governors will not be pushing for the investigation of NNPC as the move may backfire.

Meanwhile, the doubt over the quantity of daily petrol consumption has prompted a decision to effect the closure of filling stations that are 10 kilometres on the border to monitor actual consumption.

The Sub-Committee of the National Economic Council (NEC) on Remittance to Federation Account on Wednesday directed that the filling stations be closed down immediately.

The committee arrived at the decision after its meeting with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) officials presided by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja.

The sub-committee queried the claim by Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that it was lifting 60 million litres of petrol per day at present from a previous claim of 30 million barrels per day.

“We have so many international partners that are saying that even if we are feeding Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana and Niger, we cannot take more than 35 million litres,’’ Gov. Abdulaziz Yari  said.

He told State House Correspondents that the closure of the stations was to monitor the volume of petrol being distributed across the country.

According to Yari, the stations will be recertified according to their needs before they recommence operation.

“So, we are taking decision now that any filling station that is 10 kilometres on the border side should be closed down by DPR.

“And, we are going to direct the Minister of Finance in collaboration with DPR and NNPC to put a tracking device to every truck to know where that truck is heading.

The tracking will also show where the trucks are discharging the fuel because we are suspicious of the number,’’ the governor stated.

He said that the committee had asked the NNPC to furnish it with how much it remitted to the Federation Account as proceeds from petroleum from 2015 to date and how much was outstanding.

On the cost of recovery which NNPC used to replace subsidy, the governor said that NEC was surprised that subsidy re-entered the trade after efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the practice. (NAN)

 

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