One of the biggest leadership challenges facing Nigeria today is the fact that we are yet to have a national leader who can tell Nigerians the way things are. Yes, we truly think that we are “big”, “rich” and “gigantic” when hard data shows that Nigeria is a relatively poor nation with leaders who struggle to communicate vision and reality.
For years, the federal government has been denying that it was paying a petrol subsidy. But today, we are just learning that through the oil corporation, NNPC, that Nigeria has been paying for fuel subsidies via a new creation called “under recovery”. Using that financial-nomenclature engineering, the price of petrol has been artificially set and the subsidy has put holes in the pocket of the federal government: “Even with the clear situation, Mr Kyari did not refer to the cost as “subsidy”. He merely said the NNPC pays between N100 and 120 billion a month to keep the pump price at the current levels.”
So, just like that, the government’s crusade that it removed the petrol subsidy was technically not truthful since it stopped paying via the minister of finance but used NNPC to pay via another name. Who is deceiving who since both the finance ministry and NNPC treasury belong to Nigeria?
South Africa budgets $130 billion for about 59 million people while Nigeria spends $35 billion for 200 million. Yet, no one can be bold to communicate the true state of things in Nigeria. When you cannot explain but prefer to hide your problems, you delay a path to solutions.
The federal government on Thursday admitted paying as much as N120 billion to subsidise the price of petrol monthly.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, said this at the fifth edition of the special ministerial briefings coordinated by the presidential communications team.
He said the cost was covered by the NNPC.
Mr Kyari said while the actual cost of importation and handling charges amounts to N234 per litre, the government is selling at N162 per liter.
He said sooner or later Nigerians would have to pay the actual cost for the commodity.
Even with the clear situation, Mr Kyari did not refer to the cost as “subsidy”. He merely said the NNPC pays between N100 and 120 billion a month to keep the pump price at the current levels.
The figures tally with a PREMIUM TIMES estimates of the amount paid by the government monthly to subsidise petrol.
This newspaper reported last week that as it had become clear the Nigerian government continued to subsidise the price of petrol, the nation may be expending a whopping N102.5 billion monthly to reduce the retail cost of petrol.
The sum is higher than the N70 billion the government budgeted for the provision of Universal Basic Education (UBEC) in the 2021 budget, as well as the N45.19 billion allocated for immunization.
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