The Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has expressed disappointment over Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo’s comment that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was bearing the cost of fuel subsidy and not the federal government, asking; “What is the difference between NNPC and the federal government? Who is NNPC and who is federal government? Is NNPC now an autonomous agency of the federal government?”
The governor, who said the All Progressives Congress (APC) federal government should stop addressing Nigerians as if they were kindergarten pupils, added that; “Fact is; NNPC does not have rights to spend money it generates from the sales of crude oil. It does not have the rights to swap crude oil for subsidy. Where is NNPC getting the money with which it is subsidizing petrol with N26 per litre? Is NNPC spending money from the sales of crude oil that should be paid into the federation account to pay subsidy?”
Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, quoted Governor Fayose as urging Prof Osinbajo not to engage in bulk passing like his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari and tell Nigerians the truth as to how much is being spent on subsidy by the federal government.
Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, NNPC Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, said that the landing cost of petrol was now N171 as against the official pump price of N145 per litre, meaning that the federal government must be paying N26 as subsidy on every litre of petrol imported to retain the pump price of N145.
While answering questions from journalists on Monday, in Lagos, Vice President Osinbajo said NNPC was bearing the cost of subsidy and not the federal government.
Reacting, Governor Fayose said; “I like the Vice President, he is a pastor and I don’t believe that he will also join others in Buhari’s government to lie to Nigerians. However, this one that he presented NNPC as an agency of the federal government that can allocate fund without the approval of the president is very strange to me.
“If subsidy is being paid by the NNPC as claimed by Vice President Osinbajo, where is the money coming from? Is it from sales of crude oil? Does it now mean that the NNPC is spending part of the proceeds of the sale of crude oil outside allocation to the federal government by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC)?”
Speaking further, the governor said; “We were all in this country in 2012 when chieftains of the APC, including President Buhari led protests across the country against removal of fuel subsidy.
“Before he became President, Buhari maintained that fuel subsidy never existed and when he became President, he said he did not know what fuel subsidy meant.
“We were also in Nigeria in May 2016, when the federal government announced the removal of subsidy on petrol and went on to increase the pump price of petrol to N145 per litre. The same APC people, who protested against removal of subsidy and increment of petrol price to N140 in 2012, defended the removal in 2016 and increment of pump price to N145.
“In 2017 budget of the federal government, provision was not made for the payment of fuel subsidy, so also that of 2018. So where is the N26 they are subsidizing one litre of petrol with coming from? Is the Buhari-led government spending fund not appropriated by the National Assembly?
Governor Fayose maintained that the current fuel scarcity was caused by the federal government so as to be able to force Nigerians to accept the planned increment of petrol pump price from N145 to N185 per litre.