Legal Nigeria

Senate uncovers discrepancy in N120b subsidy payment

Senate President Ahmed Lawan

By Sanni Onogu, Abuja

The Senate said yesterday it has uncovered N120 billion difference in the subsidy paid by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory (PPPRA) to the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in 2016.

The discovery was made in the 2016 report of the Auditor-General of the Federation being considered by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts.

It said the amount reflected in the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) was N443 billion as against the N563 billion showed in the record presented by the PPPRA.

“The amounts reflected in FAAC records at the OAGF (Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation) of N443,940,559,974.80 as subsidy payments during the year 2016 is at variance with the total amount of N563,283,294,925.47 in the records of the PPPRA as subsidy payments during the year 2016,” the OAGF query reads.

However, the National President of IPMAN, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, told the committee that the union has over 50,000 members across the country adding that the agency did not know the real beneficiary of the N80 billion differential.

He said: “We have over 50,000 members cut across the nooks and cranny of the country. We don’t know the real beneficiaries of the subsidy payments. If you give us the list of the beneficiaries of the subsidy, we can now reach out to them.”

Committee Chairman Senator Matthew Urhoghide has invited the PPPRA to provide the list of the beneficiaries for IPMAN to respond to issue raised in the query.

The auditor-general said that from the records of the PPPRA, it was discovered that N121 billion was paid as outstanding subsidy to oil marketers for 117 transactions in 2014.

He said that N441.9 billion was paid to oil marketers as subsidy commitments for 324 transactions in 2015.

“From the records presented for audit, there was no year 2016 PSF payment made as a result of the removal of subsidy on petroleum products with the increase pump price from N89 to N143.

“Only outstanding payments for previous years 2014 and 2015 and interest payments were made in 2016. We were unable to carry out verification visits to the Oil marketers to confirm their eligibility to draw from the PSF. This was as a result of the PPPRA’s inability to provide the letters of introduction for us to gain access to the oil marketers.

“We were therefore unable to confirm that the amounts disbursed were paid to legitimate marketers,” the auditor-general added.