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Buhari Blames Huge Oil Subsidies On Predecessors And “Wicked Manipulators”

By Abdul Gaffar Bello – President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed past administrations for the current situation in which Nigeria is forced to spend billions of Naira annually on alleged subsidies for petroleum products.

While speaking at a meeting with the Chairman and members of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Tuesday in Abuja President Buhari lamented that the escalation of petroleum subsidy payments over recent years, was due to the deliberate neglect of the nation’s refineries, oil pipelines and other related infrastructure to allow the importation of petroleum products and corruption to thrive.

In a statement issued by his Senior Special Adviser On Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, Mr. President, who restated his strong disappointment with the way Nigeria’s oil industry has been run since he left office as Petroleum Minister and Military Head of State, declared he was convinced that if the development of the country’s domestic refining capacity and petroleum products distribution network had kept pace with national demand, there would not have been any need for the huge subsidies currently being paid to importers.

“They allowed the infrastructure to collapse so that their cronies can steal by bringing in refined products from overseas,” President Buhari said.

In effect, Buhari urged the Chairman and members of the RMAFC, who availed him of their view on the vexed issue of petroleum subsidy payments, to go “back to the drawing board” and come up with more humane proposals to rescue ordinary Nigerians from the “wicked manipulation” of the country’s oil industry by corrupt operators.

He also warned that severe sanctions would be visited on any individual or organization that violated the directive on the payment of all national revenue into the Federation Account.

The President held that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and other MDA’s which previously relied on the laws establishing them to retain all or part of revenues collected by them, did so illegally and must now comply with the Nigerian Constitution by paying all revenues to the Federation Account.

In the meantime, President Buhari, who chided the RMAFC for approving excessive remunerations for some political office holders, urged the commission to seek a proper interpretation of its powers and address the public outcry against the unreasonably high payments.


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