05 March 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – The Federal Government has directed the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to from now on, make public names of companies that draw from the subsidy fund.
This fact was disclosed by the Minister of Finance and Coordinator of the economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in an interview.
She said: “Since we are still under a partial subsidy phase-out regime, that means we still have to maintain some subsidy. It is important for Nigerians to know that things will be done differently; that the Ministry of Petroleum and the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, are looking at a new way of managing subsidy.
“There will be a more limited group of marketers— those who have genuine business in the sector and are known. They will look at criteria; we fix the number, limit it to a smaller number that can be more easily monitored and I think all these should be published so that Nigerians will see.
“We are looking at PPPRA publishing this, so we are not going to be administering subsidy in the old way where there were so many companies, more than a hundred were involved. We are going to have a more limited number, we are going to know who they are and the amount of fuel they will be importing will be known. Every Nigerian should be able to follow and this should be published.
On how the government will reassure Nigerians that the country would not be brought under a heavy debt burden and that loans taken would be prudently utilised: she said: “As someone who was involved in the debt cancellation under the President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government, who actually spear-headed the discussion, there is absolutely no intent.
“I will be the last person and the President Goodluck Jonathan will also be the last person to subscribe to a situation in which we would pile up debts. We watch those indicators like a hawk. Mr President is very clear on this issue. As you well know, we have some ratios that we monitor with regard to GDP.
“The norm internationally is that it should not exceed 60 per cent of GDP. In Nigeria, we have adopted 30 per cent of that because we want to be really careful. Right now, our debt to GDP ratio is about 20 per cent well below the 30 per cent ratio we have set for ourselves. I may need to also clarify that the $7.9 billion external borrowing that we are talking about is over three years, not one year.”