Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II, the former Emir of Kano, called out the federal government over what he called illegality, for paying petroleum subsidy from the federation account.
Sanusi who was one of the virtual panelist on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the just concluded Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja, stated that the Nigerian daily oil consumption data is suspicious and there is endemic corruption in fuel subsidy payments.
He said: “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”
The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria called for an end to petrol and electricity subsidy, and the money used for such should be invested in critical sectors like education and health as it has a long-term gain.
He noted that even poorer countries are paying cost reflective tariffs and enjoying uninterrupted electricity.
Sanusi added; “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 subsidy.
“In 2015 or 2016, Minister Ibe Kachukwu said Nigerian 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 double?
“This is what also happened under the previous government. When oil prices 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”