Director of Strategic Communications of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 campaign organisation, Festus Keyamo (SAN), says the federal government has re-introduced “oil (subsidy) premium” in the 2019 budget proposal.
The senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) made this comment on Monday while speaking on Sunrise Daily, a talk show on Channels Television.
Keyamo said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the NNPC Act has the powers to spend monies unappropriated.
The 48-year-old lawyer said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is not paying subsidy like the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did but acknowledged that the Buhari admin is only paying “premium”.
His words: “What happened under the PDP government was that they were paying for products that did not land at all. That was the scam that was happening, It was fraud, the greatest stealing in the history of this country happened under them.
“All the PDP bigwigs were all involved in this subsidy scam, then you saw that many of them refunded money. Like I said, they were paying for products that did not land at all, they will tell you they have brought product and you have to pay subsidy on those products.
“The NNPC officials knew, everybody knew that the products did not come at all. What did Buhari do when he came? He said he wanted to cleanse that industry, he said NNPC should take complete charge of importation.
“The government wanted to eliminate subsidy at that time, but as the price of crude went up, the price of production went up, the price of the by-products also went up, its normal.”
Keyamo said at the point when oil was $28 to $30, government was not paying subsidy, but “the difference occurred when oil prices went beyond $43 per barrel, because that was the benchmark, as it rose beyond $43, the delta started, not subsidy. We started to pull away from N145”.
“So the landing cost came to N203/N205, and we are still selling for N145 and the president said you cannot suffer the masses. Now how do they cover it? Not subsidy.
“The NNPC Act allows the NNPC to make refunds to the federation account, in other words, they can spend money and return the balance to the federation account, by law.”
When asked why the government was not appropriating this “premium”, Keyamo said, “It is now in the 2019 budget; despite the fact that it is backed by law, that premium has been put in the 2019 budget proposal,” he added.