NNPC Denies Allegations of Having $3.5 Billion Subsidy Fund
There have been a lot of heated words and a lot of fur flying over the recent allegations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) having a USD 3.5 billion subsidy fund. The allegations have been shocking and surprising, coming at a time when the relationship between Nigerian consumers and the large Petrol Corporation are on shaky grounds.
This is not millions, but billions that are being discussed. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has denied they have this enormous fund, saying they do have USD 1 billion kept in the Central Bank of Nigeria.
There is the reason for concern, as there should be when such huge figures are thrown around. Transparency over these enormous amounts of money is vital and yet there seems to be a ton of secrecy and misinformation over the funds. The NNPC has not just denied the allegations but are offended at the insinuations.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation issued a statement on Wednesday, from Abuja in Nigeria. Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, the spokesman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, said that there have been problems over the last year, bought on by the shortage of products supply towards the end of 2017. He says they do not have a USD 3.5 billion subsidy fund, rather that they had initiated a move where they could raise a fun of just over USD 1 billion as a revolving fund.
Questions are being asked over a subsidy fund and a revolving fund. The NNPC has said the revolving fund was initiated as the NNPC are still the sole importer and supplier in Nigeria, of white products. They also say the fund is in the Central Bank of Nigeria and has never been held by themselves, the NNPC.
No matter the insinuations, the people of Nigeria do have a right to know what money is being held where. There are secrecy and confusion, not good for the country and not good for the country’s image. More than anything, this is not good for the NNPC or the Central Bank.
Ughamadu has said the fund is called The National Fuel Support Fund, and it is jointly managed by the NNPC, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Finance. By including the Federal Ministry of Finance, one is ensuring a level of transparency and law. He also mentioned the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, the Department of Petroleum Resources, the Petroleum Equalization Fund and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
When asked if the NNPC had spent any of the money in the fund, Mr. Ughamadu categorically said no, saying the fund was simply there to ensure that petroleum product supply as stable. Assurances are all good and well, but the proof is needed to clarify the confusion.
Mr. Ughamadu also stated the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was completely aware that the National Assembly had the sole responsibility to appropriate on petrol subsidy issues and that the NNPC does not have control.
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