Nigeria’s state oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), through a series of tweets on its official twitter handle, denied the senate’s accusation that it was in possession of a $3.5 billion fund to subsidise imports of gasoline.
The upper house Senate revealed it would launch an investigation to inspect the fund it thinks NNPC has been using without subjecting the money for parliamentary scrutiny through the national budget.
In response to the allegations, the tweets published by the NNPC said “we don’t have $3.5 billion subsidy fund”. The state oil company however admitted that a $1.05 billion ‘National Fuel Support Fund’ exists and was set up by the company “to ensure stability in the petroleum products supply”.
NNPC Spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu said the fund was jointly managed by a group of organisations that includes the NNPC, the central bank and the finance ministry. He also noted that the fund which was placed in the hands of the Central Bank of Nigeria, had not been tampered with by any member of the NNPC. Ughamadu said “NNPC did not independently spend a dime of it”.
Nigeria, Africa’s top crude oil producer, which imports most of its gasoline as a result of underperforming refineries, keep prices artificially low at 145 Naira per litre. This is why fuel subsidy is such a contentious issue in the country.