The Federal Government’s assertion that it had received N6.7 trillion in fuel subsidies was not supported by any paper, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), a situation that has prompted lawmakers to demand the appearance of Governor Godwin Emefiele for the next hearing.
At a hearing of the House of Representatives special ad hoc committee on Petroleum Products Subsidy Regime in Nigeria from 2017 to 2021, Governor Godwin Emefiele disclosed the information.
The CBN Governor informed the legislators before the probe hearing even started that he could only respond to inquiries about technical aspects of subsidy payments.
I’ll be able to answer these questions here. He said that if they fall outside of the technical parameters of the subsidized transactions, I won’t be able to answer.
Recall that Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said Nigeria could spend up to N6.72 trillion ($16.2 billion) next year if it keeps a fuel subsidy in place, a nearly 70% jump from this year’s budget.
TechEconomy understands that lawmakers in April approved a 4 trillion naira petrol subsidy for 2022 when President Muhammadu Buhari asked for additional funds to offset higher global oil prices driven by the conflict in Ukraine.
Hussein Kagara, the top bank’s Deputy Director of Banking Services, spoke for Emeifele when he informed the legislators that the regulator was unable to print out the subsidy payment paperwork due to its size.
His justification was not well received by the committee, however, as Mark Gbilah (NNPP Benue) claimed that N6.7 trillion had been spent on subsidies in less than a year and demanded that the CBN Governor personally appear to address the matter alongside the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
In order to conduct further hearings, the committee subpoenaed witnesses to appear on August 18.