Tinubu Diverting Funds Through Secret Petrol Subsidy – Atiku

Former vice President of Nigeria and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has raised alarm over the refusal of the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to react to recent reports on the return of petrol subsidy was an indication that public funds have begun going into private pockets.

Atiku made this claim while reacting to reports by the IMF that the Nigerian government had begun paying petrol subsidy again.

Media reports stated that monthly subsidy payment is nearly N1 trillion which exceeds the amount that was being paid monthly by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The former VP, in a statement by his media aide, Phrank Shaibu, said it had become clear that one of the reasons the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Plc had not been paying the required amount of money into the government’s coffers was that monies were being diverted under an opaque and secret subsidy regime.

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Tinubu has been boasting at every economic forum that he deserves to be in the Guinness Book of records for removing petrol subsidy. He even said before ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ in New York last September that the ‘corrupt subsidy’ regime and FX issues had been resolved.

“But like every other thing relating to Tinubu, this has turned out to be another lie from the pit of hell. Currently, the exchange rate based on what the Central Bank of Nigeria recommended to the Nigeria Customs Service is N1,515/$1, hence diesel price is now over N1,200 but petrol is still selling for between N600 and N700.

“Nigeria is the only country in the world where such disparity between diesel and petrol exists. It has become obvious that petrol subsidies have returned through the backdoor. With the return of petrol subsidy, oil marketers have opted out and that is why the NNPC has returned to being the sole importer of petrol once more and has the temerity to announce that it will not increase petrol cost regardless of the international price of crude oil and the exchange rate.

“To be clear, petrol subsidy in itself is not a bad thing when it is done transparently. BusinessDay reported that this subsidy now consumes nearly N1 trillion monthly. We had taken this as a rumour but the fact that the government has remained silent 72 hours after the report was published shows that the report is true.

“Former CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, expressed shock last month that NNPC was still not remitting FX into government’s accounts. It is now obvious why this has been happening. Subsidy has returned but it is now being done in a corrupt and secret manner as funds are now being diverted into private pockets even worse than under Buhari. This is the Tinubu Lagos legacy from Lagos State.”

Atiku added that it was disappointing that Finance Minister, Wale Edun and CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso, who both claimed to have got their appointments based on their expertise had failed to speak up but had continued to cover up the petrol subsidy.

The former vice president said the Tinubu government had continued to frustrate the takeoff of the Dangote refinery which would have at least reduced Nigeria’s FX demands.

“The media reported last week that lingering regulatory approvals have stalled Dangote Petrochemical Refinery’s plan to release aviation fuel (Jet A1) and diesel for sale in the Nigerian market.

“At the same time, Dangote refinery has been struggling to get the needed crude oil and has decided to import from the United States while the NNPC which has no business with monetary policy, committed Nigeria’s crude oil for a $3.3 billion Afrexim loan ostensibly to stabilise the naira.

“It is obvious that Tinubu and his so-called economic team are quacks, charlatans who put their personal interest ahead of that of the country. With such Lilliputians at the helm of affairs, Nigeria’s economic woes are about to go from bad to worse,” stated.

On Sunday, the Presidency had cautioned Atiku against negative assumptions about the economy in the face of the various positive reforms instituted by the administration.

Mr Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, said the claims by Atiku on the decisions taken at the last meeting between President Tinubu and the state governors was misconstrued and not a true representation of what transpired.

Onanuga said that the PDP presidential candidate also failed to prescribe a better policy option to what the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, and his team are executing at the apex bank.

Africa Today News, New York

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