Kyari: Market Cabal Enriched Themselves with Subsidy Payments

Mele Kyari
Mallam Mele Kyari

•FG spent N8.9tn on fuel subsidy in nine years, says PPPRA

By Emmanuel Addeh

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has said that the benefits of the fuel subsidy regime were enjoyed by members of a market cabal engaged in fuel marketing and not the masses that it was targeted at.

The corporation has also reaffirmed its commitment to the pursuit of a 35 per cent women inclusion in its workforce.

This is coming as it was revealed that the federal government spent a whopping N8.942 trillion in subsidising petroleum products between 2006 and 2015, according to figures from the Petroleum Product Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), indicated yesterday.

Speaking during a Hausa programme on a radio station in Kaduna, Kyari said subsidy was removed because it was characterised by fraudulent activities.

He explained that fuel subsidy was not beneficial to the masses who are the original target beneficiaries, therefore, the federal government removed it with a plan to reinvest on projects that will have a direct impact on the masses.

“The crude oil is a global commodity and its price is not hidden, everyone can calculate and know how much is the cost of every final product from the crude at the international market.

But, since the inception of oil importation, the government has been paying subsidy on petrol to make it cheaper for Nigerians to buy below the cost price,” Kyari said
“This subsidy is designed to assist Nigerians, that is the intention. But in reality, the masses are not the beneficiaries. First, the masses are not the owners of the exotic cars, buying fuel, owning the filling stations, and doing the oil business.

“This subsidy that the government has been paying over the years is the root of all the atrocities and fraud committed in this country.

“For example, if you look at it from 2006 till 2020, we have spent over N10 trillion on fuel subsidy. Apart from that, there is also subsidy on foreign currencies, everybody knows how much is dollar in the market, but the government is also subsidising it. So, this and the fuel subsidy, within this period, have gulped between N14 trillion and N15 trillion.

“It was not the masses of Nigeria that were enjoying this subsidy, except some members of a market cabal, who are rich and powerful. They were enriching themselves with the subsidy money at the detriment of the masses who were the primary target.”

Kyari explained that the money from subsidy payments can be channelled to other areas of development.

“From this money, Nigeria has been able to pay workers’ salaries without retrenching despite the effects of the COVID-19 on the global economy,” he said.

“In the whole of West Africa, it is only Nigeria that didn’t retrench workers as a result of the pandemic. Apart from that, part of the money will be used to support farmers and other business owners.”

FG Spent N8.9tn on Fuel Subsidy in Nine Years, Says PPPRA

In a related development, the federal government spent a whopping N8.942 trillion in subsidising petroleum products between 2006 and 2015, figures from the PPPRA, indicated yesterday.

The figures obtained by THISDAY showed that there was a steady increase of subsidy between the years under consideration from N257.36 billion in 2006 to N2.1 trillion in 2011 before it declined to N653.51 billion in 2015.

The agency noted that for 2007, the payment to marketers was N271.51 billion, 2008 , it was N630.57 billion, 2009, it was N469.31 billion while for 2010, it rose to N667.08 billion.

In the same vein, 2012 saw the government spent N1.354 trillion, for 2012, it was N1.315 trillion, while for 2014 it was N1.217 trillion.

Earlier this month, the federal government foreclosed reinstating the fuel subsidy regime as outrage grew over the hike in the ex-depot price of petrol that jacked up the pump price from between N145 and N148 per litre to N158-N162 band.

It defended the fuel subsidy removal, saying it constituted a drain on the country’s meagre resources.

Under the fuel subsidy system, the commodity is retailed at a price lower than the landing cost with the federal government paying the differential, which runs into billions and trillions of naira.

In place of the subsidy, the government explained that henceforth prices of the product would be determined by the vagaries of the international crude oil market, stressing that incurring further costs on under-recovery has now been stopped permanently.

Meanwhile, NNPC has reaffirmed its commitment to the pursuit of a 35 per cent women inclusion in its workforce.

A press statement by the corporation’s spokesman, Dr. Kennie Obateru, yesterday noted that Kyari, made the commitment when the executive chairman of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), Dr. Muheeba Dankaka, visited him in Abuja.

Kyari stated that the national oil company, as a responsible corporate entity, has always provided a level playing field for all, thereby granting equal employment opportunity to Nigerians from all classes and backgrounds.

“On the issues around inclusion and physically challenged, as a matter of fact, today in our employment we have people in wheelchairs, the blind and other physically challenged.
“We are one of the institutions of government with the highest number of women in management,” the GMD stated.

Kyari said that contrary to “false claims” in some quarters, each geopolitical zone of the country is represented at the top management of NNPC, stressing that there is fair play in the corporation’s appointments.

He said NNPC would continue to work towards achieving the government’s 35 per cent affirmative action of women in public service.

He said NNPC would continue to comply with the rules and regulations of the commission on recruitment.

The statement noted that the FCC leadership applauded the corporation for ensuring a high level of gender balance in management positions in the corporation.