The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has restated its position that the federal government’s continuous use of scarce funds to subsidise domestic consumption of petrol is not sustainable.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this during a recent visit of the international Chair of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Clare Short in Abuja, noted that the time for the federal government to finally remove oil subsidy has come.
Citing the last NEITI audit report of 2012, Ahmed said a total of N1.355 trillion was processed for payment as subsidy but that N690 billion was actually paid out, thus inflicting a debt burden of N665 billion on the federal government.
She explained that NEITI’s position remains that the amount of funds so far expended on petrol subsidy is more than enough to repair Nigeria’s four refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna or even build new ones.
“From our reports, the amount of money that Nigeria has paid so far on subsidy in the last seven years stand at N4.5 trillion. The breakdown shows that N816.554 billion was paid between 2006 to 2008, N3 trillion between 2009 and 2011 and N690 billion in 2012. We in NEITI believe that this amount is more than enough to repair our refineries or build new ones. NEITI therefore stands firmly with Nigerians who share the fair position that the oil subsidy should be removed,” Ahmed added.
NEITI had in its 2012 audit report which was released in March stated that out of the 46 marketers given approval to import petrol in 2012 into the country, a few of the companies had performed below average while four of them did not import any petroleum products at all.