The Federal Government is trying to cover a "huge fraud in the presidency by declaring it spends N24 billion monthly (N774 million per day) to subsidise fuel in the country," the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged.
The party described the figure as "fictitious and cleverly fabricated to retire the already exposed stealing of trillions of naira by the presidency cabal and All Progressives Congress (APC) interests in secret oil deals."
PDP's National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement, yesterday, said: "It is duplicitous for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to claim a sudden surge in fuel purchase expenses at the same time the nation faced the harshest fuel shortage across the country, with Nigerians paying exorbitantly for the product."
According to the PDP, "The APC-led presidency is drawing its deceptive proclivity and concealment of fraud too far. And to think that such is hatched in a sector that is under the direct supervision of President Muhammadu Buhari as Minister of Petroleum Resources is most disheartening.
"This is the same presidency that claimed to have abolished fuel subsidy payments and even accused the immediate past administration of alleged corruption in its subsidy management. It is, therefore, strange that the same government can pull out unimaginable figures and claim it is the cost of subsidy enjoyed by Nigerians."
The party further queried: "How come that with such humongous sums, Nigerians are still paying as high as N250 to N300 per litre on fuel in various parts of the country? We have since charged the Buhari-led presidency to come out clear on the administration of subsidy under its watch. The question is, why is the Federal Government cloaking the subsidy regime in secrecy, if not to conceal its duplicity?"
The PDP said: "Nigerians need to know who in the presidency approved the spending of the said N774 million per day as fuel subsidy and who the benefiting companies are. Is the subsidy captured in any appropriation instrument of the National Assembly? What is the cost of landing imported fuel to the depots and at what exchange rate? Where are the details of the subsidy payout and the negotiating options and contracts?
"In reeling out its figures, the presidency has forgotten that Nigerians are still waiting for its explanations on the leaked memo showing alleged corrupt oil contracts at the NNPC to the tune of N9 trillion ($25 billion dollars). The presidency has also refused to offer explanations on the alleged involvement of its officials in various sneaky oil subsidy deals and reported diversion of N1.1 trillion worth of crude, last year, to service APC interests."
As if finally out with a solution to fuel importation and the attendant subsidy payments, the NNPC has said it is targeting the reduction of capital flight in procurement and cost of producing a barrel of crude oil.
Speaking in Abuja, yesterday, Group Managing Director (GMD) Maikanti Baru said the corporation is working smart to bring more money into the coffers of the federation.
"The more we bring down the cost of producing oil and gas, the more money we bring into the pockets of federal, state and local governments. We are driving the Nigerian content agenda to essentially bring down cost. We have brought down the cost of production of a barrel of oil to about $20. Our target is $15. And we will continue to march towards that," Baru said.
The GMD, who was represented at the 2018 edition of Technology and Innovation Expo by Chief Operating Officer, Gas and Power, Saidu Mohammed, disclosed that the corporation has domesticated engineering, procurement, construction and most of the major activities in the oil and gas industry.
He said: "We have collaborated with the Nigerian Content Development Board. We have also got Nigerians who are innovative to go into fabrication. What we want to do is make sure that we domesticate the big chunk of where we spend the money, which is procurement. We have fabrications going on. We have also gone into the fabrication of vessels. What we are doing is to support all sorts of innovation."
Commenting on the Ajaokuta-Kaduna and Kano pipeline project, the GMD said the pipelines were fully domesticated in accordance with the local content policy of the Federal Government. He added that Nigerians would do all the pre-commissioning and commissioning services.