The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari directed it to subsidise the pump price of petrol for Nigerians, a revelation that appears to contradict Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s controversial claim that the corporation and not the Federal Government was responsible for the payment.
Group Managing Director of the corporation, Maikanti Baru, made this known on Friday during a brief interview with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa shortly after he performed Friday Jumat prayers.
Following earlier disclosure by Baru that a N26 subsidy existed on petrol, prompting widespread shock and criticism since the government had long claimed to have ended the fuel subsidy regime, Osinbajo had then intervened, claiming the government was not bearing the cost.
The vice president had said, “NNPC is trading in fuel; the Federal Government is not, at the moment, paying for any subsidy. NNPC is trading. If you are buying and selling fuel, you would have to be able to pay for it. So, it’s not a question of government provision for subsidy, the Federal Government, at the moment, isn’t paying any subsidy. And don’t forget that the way that the NNPC trades is that, in many cases, NNPC is actually giving fuel; there is 445, 000 barrels of fuel.
“So really what you are seeing, in many cases, is more or less an exchange for PMS. So at the moment NNPC is paying the cost”.
Osinbajo’s claim was also greeted by bewilderment and criticism. The major grouse rested on the fact that NNPC was a government corporation and as such could not have been said to be spending its own money.
But speaking Friday, Baru said Buhari authorised the payment of the ‘subsidy’ by NNPC to ease the pain of Nigerians, essentially laying the responsibility for the payment at the doorsteps of the presidency.
“Do you want me to remove subsidy?” he said in response to questions demanding clarifications on the subsidy issue.
“What I am saying is that the landing cost as should be sold in the pump without under-recovery should be N171.40.
“However Mr. President has directed that we should maintain all the parameters to ensure that it is sold at N145 per litre. And that is why we are selling at depot at N133.28.8,” he explained.
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