Senate uncovers discrepancy in payment of N120bn subsidy

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The Senate Committee on Public Accounts on Wednesday said it has discovered a difference of N120 billion in the payment of subsidy to the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory (PPPRA) in 2016.

The committee which is considering the 2016 report by the Auditor-General of the Federation, said that the amount reflected in the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) was N443 billion, while the record presented by the PPPRA showed N563 billion.

“The amounts reflected in FAAC records at the OAGF (Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation) of N443,940,559,974.80 as subsidy payments during the year 2016 is at variance with the total amount of N563,283,294,925.47 in the records of the PPPRA as subsidy payments during the year 2016,” the query of the Auditor General read.

However, the National President of IPMAN, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, told the committee that the union has over 50,000 members across the country adding that the agency did not know the real beneficiary of the N80 billion differentials.

He said: “We have over 50,000 members cut across the nooks and cranny of the country. We don’t know the real beneficiaries of the subsidy payments. If you give us the list of the beneficiaries of the subsidy, we can now reach out to them.”

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, therefore, summoned the PPPRA to provide the list of the beneficiaries for IPMAN to respond to issue raised in the query.

The Auditor General said that from the records of the PPPRA, it was discovered that N121 billion was paid as outstanding subsidy to oil marketers for 117 transactions in 2014.

He said that N441.9 billion was paid to oil marketers as subsidy commitments for 324 transactions in 2015.

“From records presented for audit, there was no year 2016 PSF payment made as a
result of the removal of subsidy on petroleum products with the increase pump price from N89 to N143.

“Only outstanding payments for previous years 2014 and 2015 and interest payments were made in 2016.

“We were unable to carry out verification visits to the Oil marketers to confirm their
eligibility to draw from the Petroleum Support Fund. This was as a result of the
PPPRA’s inability to provide the letters of introduction for us to gain access to the Oil Marketers.

“We were therefore unable to confirm that the amounts disbursed were paid to legitimate Marketers,” the Auditor General added.

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