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It’s illegal to pay subsidy with Federation Account funds, says Sanusi

The deposed Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has reminded the Federal Government that it is illegal to pay petroleum subsidies using funds from the Federation Account. The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor spoke virtually as a panellist on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the just concluded Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja. Sanusi said Nigeria’s daily oil consumption data is suspect which signifies corruption in the whole of subsidy payments. “This money coming from petrol belongs to the Federation Account, and the Federal Government doesn’t have the constitutional right to pay subsidy on behalf of the federation. “So it is a fundamental constitutional issue because this is money that should go to the federal, states and local governments.

Yet money that belongs to the federation is carried out as Federal Government expenditure. So, there are so many complex issues, legal and economic issues. We need to stop these issues,” he said. He also advocated for the end of fuel subsidy and electricity subsidy, saying the money saved should be invested in critical sectors like education and health adding that the long-term gains far outweigh the short-term pains. “I have said this before even as a CBN Governor under the previous government. What I say is not of a particular government.

“Take petroleum subsidies for instance. In 2015 or 2016, Minister Ibe Kachukwu said Nigeria was importing 30 million litres of PMS per day after eliminating corruption. In 2019, the NNPC said we are importing 59 million litres per day after oil prices have gone up. And I have been asking the question, what happened between 2015 and 2019 that our oil consumption has almost doubled?” he asked.

“This is what also happened under the previous government. When oil price go up, NNPC said they are importing more because of the arbitrage. Thus, when the oil prices go high, there is an incentive to inflate the number,” he noted. Sanusi said he hopes that the government will critically re-examine subsidy payments to stop allegations of corrupt practices going on in the NNPC. On electricity tariff, he said it should also be stopped as even poorer countries are paying cost reflective tariffs and enjoying uninterrupted electricity.

 

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