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Fuel Scarcity: Fayose counsels Osinbajo to stop buck-passing, Says; “NNPC can’t pay N26 subsidy without FG’s approval”

By Lere Olayinka
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Fuel Scarcity: Fayose counsels Osinbajo to stop buck-passing, Says;
“NNPC can't pay N26 subsidy without FG's approval”

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has expressed disappointment
over Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo's comment that the Nigerian
National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was bearing the cost of fuel
subsidy and not the federal government, asking; “What is the
difference between NNPC and the federal government? Who is NNPC and
who is federal government? Is NNPC now an autonomous agency of the
federal government?”

The governor, who said the All Progressives Congress (APC) federal
government should stop addressing Nigerians as if they were
kindergarten pupils, added that; “Fact is; NNPC does not have rights
to spend money it generates from the sales of crude oil. It does not
have the rights to swap crude oil for subsidy. Where is NNPC getting
the money with which it is subsidizing petrol with N26 per litre? Is
NNPC spending money from the sales of crude oil that should be paid
into the federation account to pay subsidy?”

Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere
Olayinka, quoted Governor Fayose as urging Prof Osinbajo not to engage
in buck passing like his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari and tell
Nigerians the truth as to how much is being spent on subsidy by the
federal government.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, NNPC Group Managing
Director, Maikanti Baru, said that the landing cost of petrol was now
N171 as against the official pump price of N145 per litre, meaning
that the federal government must be paying N26 as subsidy on every
litre of petrol imported to retain the pump price of N145.

While answering questions from journalists on Monday, in Lagos, Vice
President Osinbajo said NNPC was bearing the cost of subsidy and now
the federal government.

Reacting, Governor Fayose said; “I like the Vice President, he is a
pastor and I don't believe that he will also join others in Buhari's
government to lie to Nigerians. However, this one that he presented
NNPC as an agency of the federal government that can allocate fund
without the approval of the president is very strange to me.

“If subsidy is being paid by the NNPC as claimed by Vice President
Osinbajo, where is the money coming from? Is it from sales of crude
oil? Does it now mean that the NNPC is spending part of the proceeds
of the sale of crude oil outside allocation to the federal government
by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC)?”

Speaking further, the governor said; “We were all in this country in
2012 when chieftains of the APC, including President Buhari led
protests across the country against removal of fuel subsidy.

“Before he became President, Buhari maintained that fuel subsidy never
existed and when he became President, he said he did not know what
fuel subsidy meant.

“We were also in Nigeria in May 2016, when the federal government
announced the removal of subsidy on petrol and went on to increase the
pump price of petrol to N145 per litre. The same APC people, who
protested against removal of subsidy and increment of petrol price to
N140 in 2012, defended the removal in 2016 and increment of pump price
to N145.

“In 2017 budget of the federal government, provision was not made for
the payment of fuel subsidy, so also that of 2018. So where is the N26
they are subsidizing one litre of petrol with coming from? Is the
Buhari-led government spending fund not appropriated by the National
Assembly?

Governor Fayose maintained that the current fuel scarcity was caused
by the federal government so as to be able to force Nigerians to
accept the planned increment of petrol pump price from N145 to N185
per litre.