By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, accused past administrations of allowing the infrastruc-ture in the oil sector to collapse to enable their cronies steal by importing refined products.
The President, who made the accusation while speaking at a meeting with the Chairman and members of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, lamented “the current situation in which Nigeria is forced to spend billions of Naira annually on alleged subsidies for petroleum products.”
A statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, quoted the President as saying that “the escalation of petroleum subsidy payments over recent years was due to the deliberate neglect of the nation’s refineries, oil pipelines and other related infrastructure to allow the importation of petroleum products and corruption to thrive.”
According to the statement, the President restated his huge disappointment with the way Nigeria’s oil industry has been run since he left office as Petroleum Minister and Military Head of State, noting that he was convinced that if the development of the country’s domestic refining capacity and petroleum products distribution network had kept pace with national demand, there would not have been any need for the huge subsidies currently being paid to importers.
“They allowed the infrastructure to collapse so that their cronies can steal by bringing in refined products from overseas,” President Buhari said.
He told the chairman and members of RMAFC, who availed him of their view on the vexed issued of petroleum subsidy payments, to go “back to the drawing board.”