From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Public Account Committee of the Senate said on Wednesday that it had uncovered a differential of N120 billion in the payment of subsidy to the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulators (PPPRA).
The panel, relying on the 2016 query raised by the Auditor-General for the Federation, Aghughu Adolphus, said the subsidy amount recorded in the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) was N443 billion, while the record presented by the PPPRA showed N563 billion.
‘The amounts in FAAC records at the OAGF (Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation) showed that N443,940,559,974.80 was paid for subsidy during the year 2016 and it is at variance with the total amount of N563,283,294,925.47 in the records of PPPRA as subsidy payments during the year 2016, the report said.
At the committee’s meeting in the National Assembly yesterday, the National President of IPMAN, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, told the committee members that the union has over 50,000 members across the country adding that the agency did not know the real beneficiary of the N120 billion differential.
‘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,’ he said.
The Committee, chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, summoned the PPPRA to provide the list of the beneficiaries to allow IPMAN to respond to issue raised in the query.
The report also made it clear that from records made available at the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Authority (PPPRA), it was observed 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.
‘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,’ it added.
The Accountant-General added: ‘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 were paid to legitimate Marketers.’