Abuja – The Nigerian National Assembly Senate Ad-hoc Committee on the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) says the state-owned energy group – the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) is unable to account for N500 billion accruing to the programme.
The deputy Senate leader, Abdul Ningi, who doubles as chairman of the Senate SURE-P committee, said the programme is being undermined from the inside, adding that the NNPC failed to show up at the Senate hearing to explain the discrepancy in the funds for the programme.
Members of the committee, who also expressed dissatisfaction over the gross misapplication and mismanagement of SURE-P funds, took their turns to blast the petroleum minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, NNPC boss Andrew Yakubu, and CBN’s Sanusi Lamido Sanusi for failing to honour the invitation extended by the committee.
According to Senator Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara, APC), a member of the SURE-P Senate committee, N800 billion had been generated so far from the subsidy as against N300 billion claimed by SURE-P.
Marafa said: “This committee wrote to the relevant organisations that benefit from this SURE-P when it was inaugurated. It was said that the subsidy regime was going to be N32 a litre and this committee wrote the NNPC to ascertain the quantity of fuel being imported from the time this subsidy programme started.
“NNPC replied the committee that from January 2012 to December 2013, which if you calculate it will give about 21 months… they gave a breakdown of the quantity per month. When you put up everything, it comes to roughly 25 billion litres per month.
“Now, if you multiply 25 billion by 32, you get about N800 billion, and what SURE-P told us when they came here when we invited them was that they collected about N300 billion at N15 billion flat rate per month. So if you multiply 21 by 15 billion, you will get about N315 billion. So what we are talking about is the amount involved, which is N500 billion, where is it? That is what we wanted NNPC to tell us.”
He further said: “They are the ones importing the fuel, they are the custodians. I was surprised that CBN was not here because they are the custodians but, if anything, if their top management was here, the question of how they came about the N15 billion they are remitting to SURE-P would have been asked. Since CBN are the custodians of the money, so how did CBN come about remitting to SURE-P then? We will be told.”
He added: “Maybe CBN will tell us this is what NNPC is remitting to them; maybe NNPC will say no, we have been remitting this amount of money, but CBN is remitting on N15 billion. So, they are remitting only N15 billion; then we will ask CBN: how did you come about the N15 billion flat rate, because this thing can’t be a flat rate?”
” In January 2012, the nation consumed about 1.3 billion litres but if you look at February 2013,we consumed about 941 billion litres. So you can see that the remittances are supposed to be fluctuating, but when SURE-P came, they told the committee that they had been receiving N15 billion monthly. So we asked, how did they come about it?
Chairman of the committee Senator Ningi lambasted the officials of the NNPC who failed to show up for the hearing, noting that it shows the programme is being undermined from the inside.
Senator Ningi also said the non-appearance of the NNPC further confirms the fears and reservations of a lot of Nigerians on the secrecy of the implementation of the SURE -P programme.
He also threatened that the National Assembly would not continue to give legitimacy through appropriation to the programme. Ningi said, “Today, we are once again confronted by the forces of anti-democracy, people who unfortunately do not understand what this kind of system provides the executive, the legislature and the judiciary; what makes our democracy different from military regime.