The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Wednesday denied being in possession of any $3.5bn Subsidy Fund.
Senate Minority Leader Senator Biodun Olujimi on Tuesday raised a point of order citing a ThisDay article on the $3.5 billion earmarked as subsidy recovery funds by the NNPC.
The details of the Subsidy Fund caused a row on the floor of the Senate, in which the Senate initiated a fresh investigation into the alleged illegal subsidy payment on Premium Motor Spirit (petrol).
In reaction, NNPC issued a statement signed by Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC’s spokesman, denying “the insinuation that it has in its custody $3.5billion Subsidy fund.”
He explained that the National Assembly had asked the NNPC to resolve the issues of shortage of products at the close of last year and it did so.
Ughamadu revealed that the NNPC initiated the move to raise a revolving fund of $1.05billion, since the corporation was, and still is, the sole importer and supplier of white products in the country.
The NNPC spokesman said ever since the fund had been domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria, at no time was it in the custody of the NNPC.
Ughamadu said, “The fund, dubbed the National Fuel Support Fund, had been jointly managed by NNPC, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the Department of Petroleum Resources, and the Petroleum Equalization Fund.”
Hence, NNPC cannot independently spend a dime of the fund which Ughamadu said was meant to ensure stability in the petroleum products supply in the country.
However, the corporation said, it was fully aware that it is only the National Assembly that has the statutory responsibility to appropriate on petroleum subsidy matters.