Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, says the federal government has not funded the petrol subsidies for 2022 and 2023, despite budgetary provisions.
Kyari disclosed this during an interview with Arise TV earlier on Thursday.
The GCEO was responding to questions on what could be described as an immediate removal of petrol subsidy, which has led to pump price hikes in the country and an ostensible scarcity.
Last year, the federal government said payment of subsidy would stop by June 2023, budgeting the sum of N3.36 trillion for the payments of under-recovery.
But Kyari said aside from the inability of the NNPC to finance subsidies, the federal government was yet to provide the budgeted funds since the beginning of the year.
“The key issue is the country does not have the money to back subsidy,” he said.
“There was a provision of N6.3 trillion in 2022 and N3.7 trillion in 2023 for up to half a year, but I can tell you that not a single naira of that has been funded and what did we do because by law we are obligated to pay taxes and royalties and other obligations but we held back the fiscal obligations of our shareholders because there was nothing to do.
“The burden of subsidy must be financed because the provision in the law simply means that the government will write a cheque to NNPC at the end of the month for the service that we’re providing to the nation. That cheque has not been written at all.
“Absolutely, there is a provision in the budget but you do not have the cash to back it up or you also don’t have the fiscal obligation that should have come for the NNPC to settle for this and this definitely means that there is provision for the end of June, according to the appropriation act but you can’t give what you don’t have.”