Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has said a ‘market cabal’ enriched themselves with the subsidy payments made by the Federal Government.
According to him, the benefits of the petrol subsidy regime were not enjoyed by the masses that the scheme was targeted at.
The NNPC had on Monday revealed that the Federal Government spent N8.9tn on subsidy payment between 2016 and 2015.
Already, the government has commenced total deregulation of the downstream oil sector in a bid to stop further subsidy payments.
Kyari, who spoke during a Hausa programme on a Kaduna radio station, explained that with the removal of subsidy, the Federal Government plans to reinvest on projects that would have a direct impact on the masses.
He said, ”Since the inception of oil importation, the government has been paying subsidy on petrol to make it cheaper for Nigerians to buy below the cost price.
“Crude oil is a global commodity and its price is not hidden, everyone can calculate and know how much is the cost of every final product from the crude at the international market.
”This subsidy is designed to assist Nigerians, that is the intention but in reality, the masses are not the beneficiaries.
“First, the masses are not the owners of the exotic cars, buying fuel, owning the filling stations, and doing the oil business.
“It was not the masses of Nigeria that were enjoying this subsidy, except some members of a market cabal, who are rich and powerful.
“They were enriching themselves with the subsidy money at the detriment of the masses who were the primary target.”
Kyari further noted that “the subsidy that the government has been paying over the years is the root of all the atrocities and fraud committed in this country”.
He added, “For example, if you look at it from 2006 till 2020, we have spent over N10 trillion on fuel subsidy.
“Apart from that, there is also subsidy on foreign currencies, everybody knows how much is dollar in the market, but the government is also subsidising it.
“So, this and the fuel subsidy, within this period, have gulped between N14 trillion and N15 trillion.”