By Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu
The Senate Committee on Public Accounts yesterday uncovered a differential of N120 billion in the payment of subsidy to the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulating Agency (PPPRA) in 2016.
The panel, relying on the 2016 report by the Auditor-General for the Federation (AuGF), said the subsidy amount reflected in the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) was N443 billion, while the record presented by the PPPRA showed N563 billion.
The report said from records made available at the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Authority (PPPRA), it was observed that the sum of N121 billion was paid as outstanding subsidy commitments to oil marketers for 117 transactions in 2014.
It said the sum of N441.9 billion was paid to oil marketers as subsidy commitments for 324 transactions in 2015.
According to the report, “The amounts reflected in FAAC records at the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (OAGF) of N443,940,559,974.80 as subsidy payments during the year 2016 is at variance with the total amount paid of N563,283,294,925.47 in the records of PPPRA as subsidy payments during the year
“From records presented for audit, there was no 2016 PSF payment made as a result of the removal of subsidy on petroleum products with the increase pump price from N89 to N143. Only outstanding payments for previous years-2014 and 2015-and interest payments were made in 2016.
“We were unable to carry out verification visits to the oil marketers to confirm their eligibility to draw from the Petroleum Support Fund. This was as a result of the PPPRA’s inability to provide the letters of introduction for us to gain access to the oil marketers. We were therefore unable to confirm that the amounts disbursed were paid to legitimate marketers.’’
But the National President of IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, told the committee members that the union has over 50,000 members across the country, adding that the agency did not know the real beneficiary of the N80 billion differentials.
According to him, “We have over 50,000 members cut across the country. We don’t know the real beneficiaries of the subsidy payments. If you give us the list of the beneficiaries of the subsidy, we can now reach out to them.”
The committee, chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, thereafter, summoned the executive secretary of PPPRA to provide the list of the beneficiaries by next week for IPMAN to respond to issues raised in the query.