The federal government has been accused of spending N634 billion, the equivalent of one-third of the country's capital budget, to fund deep seated corruption in the downstream sector in the name of paying for kerosene subsidy for the past three years.
Speaking in Lagos Thursday at a seminar organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Hon. Dakuku Peterside, criticised the federal government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for the scam in the kerosene subsidy.
"We are all businessmen who want to outsmart each other but in a case where NNPC is the sole importer of kerosene, and yet the masses are paying for it, I don't know how many of us here go to the gas station to get kerosene to buy at N50. The implication of this is that the 11 million litres we import daily develop wings and fly out of our country," he explained.
He stated that in 2010 Nigeria spent N110,068,533,988 just to subsidise imported kerosene. Peterside said in 2011, a whooping N324,089,961,319 was spent on kerosene subsidy, stressing that in the same year, corruption was democratised in the downstream sector.
"Some investigations also showed that the downstream sector is entrenched in deep corruption in Nigeria. That year we spent N324,089,961,319 on kerosene subsidy. In 2012, although we are yet to reconcile this, we spent N200,000 billion subsidising kerosene.
"And so in three years, we have spent N634 billion subsidising kerosene which is one-third of what we spend in a year on the capital budget," he said.
"No country that spends most of its funds on consumption will grow. And so that explains why Nigeria is not moving forward. How can we move forward when most of our funds are spent servicing corruption?" he asked. "We complain that the roads are not working. Somebody will say we should pray to cast away demons and that demons are the ones affecting our roads. No demon is affecting out roads; we are the ones with the problems on our roads.
"We cry about roads; we cry about one problem or the other, but if we have our way, we will buy more bulletproof cars than what we have now. That is the truth," Peterside said. He described the downstream sector as the "mother of corruption and fraud," adding that the sector is the beginning and end of corruption.
He disclosed that NNPC supplied about 2.92 billion litres of kerosene to the Nigeria market from September 2012 to August 2013 with average importation of 11 million litres per day.
According to him, despite the massive importation of kerosene, there is still a nationwide scarcity of the product. He called for the immediate switch to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), which is cleaner, safer and readily available.
Peterside said 27 percent of Nigerian households use kerosene, five percent use LPG, and six percent use charcoal.