Senate to Probe Missing N120bn Subsidy Payment from 2016
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Senate Committee on Public Account will be investigating a difference of N120 billion found in subsidy payment to the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulators (PPPRA) in 2016.
The upper chamber discovered that in an Auditor-General for the Federation (AuGF) 2016 report, the subsidy payment reflected in the record of 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 paid of N563,283,294,925.47 in the records of PPPRA as subsidy payments during the year 2016,” the report said.
In the defense of the association, the IPMAN National President, Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo told the committee that the union had over 50,000 members across the country adding that the agency did not know the real beneficiary of the N80 billion differential.
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 committee, chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, therefore, summoned the PPPRA to provide the list of the beneficiaries for IPMAN to respond to the issue raised in the query.
According to the report, records made available at the PPPRA indicated that the sum of N121 billion was paid as outstanding subsidy commitments to oil marketers for 117 transactions in 2014.
It said the sum of N441.9 billion was paid to oil marketers as subsidy commitments for 324 transactions in 2015.
The report added, “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,” the report clarified.