The 60 million litres of petrol claimed by the former subsidy support programme managers as Nigeria’s daily consumption is inflated, the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) insisted yesterday.
NEITI said it has commissioned a study to ascertain the actual quantity.
The study, according to the NEITI Executive Secretary, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, will cover the subsidy era and the period after the policy removal on May 29.
He spoke at the stakeholders’ validation workshop on the 2022 Annual Progress Report (ARP) in Nigeria Extractive Industries in Abuja yesterday.
Orji described the removal of subsidy as a “bold step,’ and urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to reverse it.
He said: “For a very long time, NEITI’s position has been ‘remove subsidy. And this government right from day one has taken that bold step and there shouldn’t be any going back.
“For us in NEITI, we still believe that subsidy removal will still throw up other issues.
“The issue that we know will happen is the actual figure, the actual figure of consumption. We believe the figures that are being thrown up as daily consumption in Nigeria, but we do not think that is very correct.
“We think we need to have an empirical figure and that is why NEITI is just commissioning a study on the actual PMS consumption in Nigeria.
“We have every reason to believe that the figure is less than what is being projected.”
Orji, who noted that so many facts were swept under the carpet in the management of the subsidy, also urged all the actors to take their leave.
He said: ”I have highlighted that there was a need to remove subsidy and a lot was hiding under subsidy. Now that subsidy is removed let everybody find his way.
“The removal of subsidy has also removed all the incentives for hyping these figures and highlighting these figures in a manner that lacks logical empirical reasoning.
“The removal of subsidy will remove opacity and suspicious budgeting based on an estimate.
“That is why subsidy removal is a very fundamental policy shift that needs to be sustained.”
Orji expressed optimism that with the removal, the country has now freed a lot of resources to develop infrastructure: roads, electricity, healthcare and job creation.
He enjoined the media and civil society organisations to call for robust and prudent management of the savings from subsidy removal for building infrastructure.
Orji also advised the government to introduce instant measures to alleviate the impacts of the removal of subsidy on the masses.
The NEITI chief said: “The second stage is also some short-term steps that need to be put in place to cushion the immediate effects that subsidy has brought to bear on the very vulnerable less – privilege poor who are spread across the working class, the non-working class and the unemployed.
“We just need the impact of this subsidy removal to reflect in the general well-being of Nigerians and also in our socio-infrastructure.
“We should move forward from there and then put in place a robust arrangement that will show a clear departure from the manner we had operated under subsidy.
“Nigerians want to see what will change when subsidy is no more.”
He revealed that he has already informed the global body: Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) that Nigeria now has a new government that has commenced massive reforms.”
He noted that some of the reforms have affected the NEITI board.
Orji revealed that he would soon have an audience with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, on the need to quickly reconstitute the board.
In his goodwill message, NNPCL Chief Compliance Officer, Nasir Usman, said there is a global perception of Nigeria as “corrupt.”