President Muhammadu Buhari authorised the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to subsidise petrol for Nigerians, Maikanti Baru, the NNPC chief has said.
Mr. Baru made this known on Friday during a brief interview with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa shortly after he performed Friday Islamic prayers.
The NNPC chief was reacting to the confusion thrown up by his revelations in Abuja last Friday.
Last Friday, the NNPC boss stirred the hornet’s nest when he disclosed that the landing cost of fuel has jumped to N171.
The state oil firm has, however, maintained that the N145 per litre price subsists, raising questions on who foots the bill of the minimum N26 differential; especially as such estimates are not contained in the 2017 and 2018 budgets.
On Friday, Mr. Baru said Mr. Buhari authorised the payment of the ‘subsidy’ by NNPC, to ease the pains of Nigerians.
“Do you want me to remove subsidy?” he said in response to questions demanding clarifications on the subsidy.
“What I am saying is that the landing cost as should be sold in the pump without under-recovery should be N171.40.
“However Mr. President has directed that we should maintain all the parameters to ensure that it is sold at N145 per litre. And that is why we are selling at depot at N133.28.8,” he explained.
The NNPC’s confirmation of petrol subsidy has drawn the ire of some Nigerians including the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose.
“Where is NNPC getting the money with which it is subsidising petrol with N26 per litre? Is NNPC spending money from the sales of crude oil that should be paid into the federation account to pay subsidy?” Mr. Fayose, a known critic of President Buhari, said on Wednesday.
On Friday, the NNPC chief also blamed “greedy” marketers who, he said, chose to hoard the product after rumours of pump price increase emerged leading to the scarcity experienced in recent weeks.
Nigerians have had to confront scarcity of petrol in the last three weeks, a development that has ruined the plans of many for the yuletide.
The NNPC has consistently blamed oil marketers for hoarding the product while the marketers on their part have said that they had no supply.
On Friday, Mr. Baru also said his corporation has been able to resolve the petrol scarcity.