By Deji Elumoye in Abuja
A member of the National Assembly, Senator Kabir Marafa, has faulted the claim by the Senate President Bukola Saraki that Nigeria was spending N2.4 billion daily on fuel subsidy.
Marafa, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), emphasised that the nation was not paying up to N2.4 billion to subsidise fuel daily contrary to claims by Saraki.
The Senate President had said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was spending N2.4 billion to subsidise 50 million litres of petrol every day.
Marafa, while speaking with reporters after plenary Wednesday, disagreed with Saraki and insisted that findings by his committee revealed that Nigerians are not consuming more than 30 million litres of fuel per day.
He also said it was not possible for Nigeria to spend up to N2.4 billion ever day to subsidise fuel.
According to him, “It is not possible to spend N2.4 billion on subsidy in Nigeria every day. Even though we don’t have the exact figure but it ranges between 25 to 35 million per day, depending on the circumstances.
“Even if we are selling 30 million litres per day at N145 per litre, it will amount to N4.3 billion. If you say that government is subsidising by N2.4 billion, are we saying that government is selling at half of the amount?
“The landing cost of PMS (petrol) is N180 that means government is subsidising maximum N40 naira per litre. If you multiply that with 30 million litres, it cannot be up to N2.4 billion.”
He further said: “I don’t want to join issues with the Senate President. I don’t know the particular committee he mandated to carry out his investigations but if he said so, it must be for the purpose of winning elections.
“From the records at my disposal, Nigeria is not consuming 50 million litres per day. It is not possible. Even if the nation is paying subsidy at all, it is being taken from the running cost of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.”
The Senate President had Wednesday during a programme aired on AIT stated that: “It is shocking and alarming that the current administration in the country claimed that Nigerians are consuming 50 million litres of fuel every day and for two years, they did it without appropriation.
“What type of integrity are we talking about when a government claims to have been spending N2.4 billion. We have the (Senator Kabir) Marafa committee set up to look into it but we have always met a brick wall.
“For two years, we made several cases to the executive that the subsidy claims must be presented for appropriation because we cannot continue to rely on the arguments by the executive was only spending money on under recovery.
“We have set up a panel to look into it but its activities are being frustrated because we have a government where its executive does not believe that it is accountable to the National Assembly.
“We have done our part to raise it and to do as much as possible to expose what is going on. The way subsidy is being managed now at 50 million a day, is fraud. It’s not possible.”