Name Beneficiaries Of N1.4tn Fuel Subsidy Payments, BudgIT Tasks FG

BudgIT, a Nigerian civil society group that uses technology tools to simplify the budget and public spending for citizens, so as to enhance transparency and accountability in government, on Wednesday challenged the Federal Government to disclose those it so far paid a total of N1.4tr as fuel subsidy.
In a statement by Abiola Afolabi, its Communications Lead, BudgIT also challenged the National Assembly, the National Economic Council (NEC), State governments and Department of Petroleum Resources to release details of the subsidy spending. Besides the names of beneficiaries, BudgIT also requested for the pricing template for arriving at the subsidy rates and the volume of petroleum products utilised.
Expressing dismay at the continued lack of accountability and transparency government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spent on subsidy in 2016, 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, the organisation lamented that the N1.4tr is way above the N605.8bn proposed for education in 2018 budget.
The statement quoted Oluseun Onigbinde, Lead Partner of BudgIT as lamenting that “evidence shows that amount spent on subsidising PMS is always riddled with corruption. We noted this is 2011 prior to the elections and we are worried this opacity is preceding the 2019 elections again. We are worried at the use of public resources without legislative appropriation or requisite transparency ”
Recall that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, recently said N1.4tn is being spent annually by the NNPC as the subsidy for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
BudgIT called for an urgent need to plug the loophole created by the subsidy regime in the oil sector to enhance efficiency of the NNPC, while urging Nigerians to demand appropriate systems which woulod ensure that oil revenue is judiciously managed and utilised for the good of the people.
“It is in the interest of the public that detailed information of the amount spent on fuel subsidies such as the beneficiaries, the pricing template for arriving at the subsidy rates and the volume of petroleum products utilised should be made open and that these transactions are carried out transparently,” BudgIT stressed further.
The statement also drew attention to a worsening trust deficit due to lack of due process in the NNPC, recalling that in March 2018, the NNPC said “it spends N774m daily, roughly N23.99bn monthly as subsidy on 50 million litres of PMS consumed across the country.
“The public knows very little information on the beneficiaries of the subsidy payments and control process instituted to prevent theft of these funds.
“BudgIT notes that the subsidy payments have been a contentious issue for the last 30 years. Analysts have called for its cancellation due to the lack of accountability and transparency in the administration of these funds. Also, there are arguments that the subsidy regime constituted double taxation on the populace who pay the actual market price for PMS due to lack of adequate monitoring by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
“BudgIT understands that NNPC in recent times has initiated a couple of actions in trying to meet up with the global of standards of transparency and accountability including actions like publishing its monthly report on its financial and operational activities. Notwithstanding this, the lack of information on the subsidy regime, including the amount paid and the beneficiaries are locked away from public scrutiny,” the statement added.