23 June 2015, Abuja – Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI, has said that the amount paid as subsidy for petroleum products in Nigeria since 2006 is enough to fix all the country’s refineries or build new ones. This is even as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, expressed its readiness to partner with NEITI to address the negative public perception of the oil and gas industry.
Speaking in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, reiterated NEITI’s position that time has come for the Federal Government to remove oil subsidy, adding that from the last NEITI Audit Report of 2012, a total of N1.355 trillion was processed for payment as subsidy.
“Out of this amount N690 billion was actually paid putting a debt burden of N665 billion on the Federal Government,” she noted.
Ahmed explained that NEITI’s position remains that the amount of funds so far expended on subsidy is more than enough to repair the refineries or even build new ones.
She said: “From our reports, the amount of money that Nigeria has paid so far on subsidy in the last seven years stand at N4.5 trillion. The breakdown shows that N816.554 billion was paid between 2006 to 2008, N3 trillion between 2009 and 2011, and N690 billion in 2012.
“We in NEITI believe that this amount is more than enough to repair our refineries or build new ones. NEITI therefore stands firmly with Nigerians who share the fair position that the oil subsidy should be removed.” Also speaking, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Joseph Dawha, said the Corporation will collaborate more with NEITI, to consolidate on the gains of the transparency initiatives recorded so far in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
He said this during a courtesy visit to the NNPC in Abuja by a delegation of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, EITI. He said, “As for us in NNPC, we have enjoyed an unprecedented cooperation and collaboration with NEITI in their transparency drive in the oil and gas industry.”
He expressed optimism that the recent peaceful political transition in the country will bring a fresh vista of hope of a new era for the Nigerian economy. Also speaking, the EITI International Chair Ms. Clare Short, welcomed with optimism the unfolding positive enabling environment for reforms in the petroleum and mining industries under the new government in Nigeria.
According to Short, the time for Nigeria to deepen the process of implementation of NEITI Reports as basis for the proposed reforms in the industry appears to have finally come. She said, “EITI has faith in the new administration in Nigeria. We are ready to work with the new government to reform the oil sector and NEITI independent reports in the sector will help to lead the way. I am in Nigeria to convey our support to President Buhari.”
She commended NEITI for its courage to put in the public domain reliable information and data on the process and financial lapses that needed to be addressed if Nigerians were to benefit from the abundant resources in the country. Also speaking, the Chairman of the NEITI Board, Mr. Ledum Mitee, expressed gratitude to the NNPC management for its cooperation over the years, adding that the expected passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, will herald a new chapter in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
*Michael Eboh – Vanguard