Nigerians have taken to social media to express their displeasure and demand the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to account for the payments of petrol subsidy in the last years.
In a bid to sensitise Nigerians about the before and after effects of petrol subsidy removal through its official Twitter account, the NNPC tweeted an infographic with the caption “Petrol Subsidy Fact Sheet. Debt burden…” but was meted with criticism by the citizenry.
“You are the sole importer of petrol from 2016 to date, so publish the details of the transaction,” said @wakatmoen. “Publish the names and account of those you paid the subsidy to, That’s what Nigerians are asking.”
There have been reports and allegations of corruption, mismanagement and misappropriation of funds on how subsidy payments were made, who was paid and when.
According to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Nigeria spent N13.7 trillion ($74.386 billion) on petrol subsidy payments from 2005 to 2020. NEITI said subsidy payment in 2021 was N1.4 trillion, which is about N3.4 trillion in addition to the N10.5 trillion between 2022 and 2023.
Some analysts say the NNPC has not been very transparent about the specific amounts spent and how they were arrived at. The company used to publish its monthly financial and operations report but has not been consistent.
“While the authorities have published the annual financial reports of the NNPC since 2019, the publishing of monthly reports of oil fiscal transfers to the government have stopped following the conversion of the NNPC to a public limited company,” the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its staff report for the 2022 Article IV Consultation.
According to the IMF, it wants the NNPC to resume the publication of monthly reports. “Staff recommended the resumption of publication of the monthly reports along with the audit of oil fiscal revenues received from the NNPC,” it added.
The Washington-based fund recommended increased transparency of the state-owned oil company’s fiscal transfers.
“Where is subsidy in the scheme of things. What is NNPCL subsidizing,” said @ayo_heart. “You Load Crude, sell it off to Foreign Country and then come back with just one of the Derivative of Crude.”
“And then you are suddenly subsidising the same PMS. Make it real,” he added.
Another Tweep @woleesho said the NNPC doesn’t have the right to dictate pump price for the citizenry because it’s a limited company as per law.
“Additionally, you guys are supposed to publish the name of beneficiaries of the subsidy,” he added.
Last month, experts at an event in Abuja queried the N13.9 trillion directly spent on fuel subsidies by the administration of former president, Muhammadu Buhari, through the NNPC.
Faith Nwadishi, executive director of the Centre for Transparency Advocacy, stated that the new administration’s withdrawal of subsidies necessitates scrutiny, particularly with regard to the introduction and management of palliatives, and that an audit of the subsidy system would shed light on its allocation and use.
“Urgent action is required to initiate an independent audit, restore public confidence, and serve the Nigerian people’s best interests,” she added.