Nigeria loses $6.8bn in fuel subsidy plan through corruptionBy AFP | Friday, April 20 2012 at 14:13
Nigeria has lost $6.8 billion since 2009 through a fuel subsidy programme rife with corruption, a parliamentary panel report said Thursday, calling for prosecutions and an overhaul of the state oil firm.
The committee said Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, lost 1.07 trillion naira ($6.8 billion) between 2009 and 2011 through the programme, designed in part to keep petrol prices low.
"The committee believes that if the PSF (Petroleum Support Fund) scheme was properly managed, this sum of 1.07 trillion naira would have been available to the three tiers of government for budget enhancement," it said.
The report detailed what has long been suspected in Nigeria, describing a lack of accounting, overpayments, willful disregard for regulations and outright incompetence in managing the programme.
The committee, set up in January to probe the subsidy programme, also called for the state oil firm, NNPC, to be restructured.
"All those in the management and board of the NNPC directly involved in the infractions identified for the years 2009-2011 should be investigated and prosecuted for abuse of office by the relevant anti-corruption agencies," it said.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, imports much of its fuel despite its oil wealth due to a lack of refining capacity, a situation also blamed on corruption and mismanagement.
In order to keep petrol pump prices low, the government pays subsidies to fuel importers but the programme has also opened up huge opportunities for corruption.
However, Nigerians, most of whom live on less than $2 a day, view the subsidies as their only benefit from the nation's oil wealth.
President Goodluck Jonathan, citing corruption among other issues, sought to end the subsidies without warning on January 1, causing petrol prices to instantly more than double, resulting in mass protests and a week-long general strike.
He was forced to compromise and partially reinstate the subsidies.
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