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NNPC denies $3.5 billion subsidy fund claims

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[FILE PHOTO] The Minister of State for Pretroleum Resources Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu PHOTO: TWITTER/NNPC

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has denied claims that it has in its custody 3.5 billion dollars Subsidy fund.

The Senate had on Tuesday resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate $3.5bn Subsidy Recovery Fund allegedly created by the NNPC and solely managed by its Group Managing Director Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu and the Executive Director Finance, Dennis Nnamdi Ajulu.

However, the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, dismissed the claims in a statement, noting that at the height of the shortage of products supply at the close of 2017, the National Assembly asked the NNPC to do everything possible to stem the hiccups.

Ughamadu said the corporation initiated the move to raise a revolving fund of 1.05 billion dollars, since the corporation was, and still the sole importer and supplier of white products in the country.

He noted ever since, the fund had been domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria, adding that at no time was it in the custody of the NNPC.

Ughamadu said the fund, National Fuel Support Fund, had been jointly managed by the “NNPC, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OGF), the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF)”

He further clarified in the statement that cooperation “did not independently spend a dime of the fund which he said was to ensure stability in the petroleum products supply in the country.”

In a Point of Order raised by the Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Abiodun Olujimi, at plenary on Tuesday, citing Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended), expressed concerns about the existence of the 3.5 billion dollars and the mode of its management.

According to her, the Federal Government had to cancel subsidy that was usually provided for in the nation’s annual budgets since 1999, “only to turn round to set up a fund that was never appropriated for by the National Assembly.

“My point of order focuses on $3.5bn earmarked as subsidy recovery fund by the NNPC.

“Since 1999, there has always been a budget for fuel subsidy but this has been jettisoned by the current government, which leaves this administration in a very dire straits.

“What is happening now is that there is a fund named as subsidy recovery fund being managed by only two individuals of the NNPC; that is the Group Managing Director and the Executive Director, Finance.

“This fund is too huge for two people to manage. It is too huge to manage without appropriation or recourse to any known law of the land.

The senator added “the Senate should, therefore, compel the NNPC to come and explain before the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream why it should be so.

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