Director of Media, Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, said, yesterday, that Nigeria remained the best-performing economy in Africa.
He also said the Federal Government has re-introduced “oil subsidy premium” in the 2019 budget proposal.
Keyamo, who spoke on a Channels Television programme, said Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, by the NNPC Act, had the powers to spend monies unappropriated.
He said: “I need to remind Nigerians about the GDP growth. Of the 11 countries that went into recession around the world, Nigeria has exceeded all of them in terms of GDP growth.
“None of them has crossed 1.4 to 1.5 per cent, Nigeria is doing close to two per cent GDP growth right now. Let us get that one clear.
“Forbes Africa has rated Nigeria as the best-performing economy in Africa. The results came out two-three weeks ago, we are the best-performing economy in Africa.”
He said the Muhammadu Buhari-led government was not paying subsidy like Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, did, but acknowledged that the present government was only paying “premium.”
He said: “What happened under the PDP government was that they were paying for products that did not land at all. That was the scam that was happening. It was fraud, the greatest stealing in the history of this country happened under them.
“All the PDP bigwigs were all involved in this subsidy scam, then you saw that many of them refunded money. Like I said, they were paying for products that did not land at all; they would tell you they have brought product and you have to pay subsidy on those products.
“The NNPC officials knew, everybody knew that the products did not come at all. What did Buhari do when he came? He said he wanted to cleanse that industry, he said NNPC should take complete charge of importation.”
“The government wanted to eliminate subsidy at that time, but as the price of crude went up, the price of production went up, the price of the bye-products also went up, its normal.”
He said at the point oil was $28 to $30, government was not paying subsidy, but noted that “the difference occurred when oil prices went beyond $43 per barrel, which was the budget benchmark.
He said: “So the landing cost came to N203/N205, and we are still selling for N145 and the President said you cannot suffer the masses. Now how do they cover it? Not subsidy.
“The NNPC Act allows the NNPC to make refunds to the federation account. In other words, they can spend money and return the balance to the federation account, by law.”
Asked why the government was not appropriating this “premium”, Keyamo said, “It is now in the 2019 budget; despite the fact that it is backed by law, that premium has been put in the 2019 budget proposal.’’