The Senate says it has set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the use to which the sum of $3.5bn alleged subsidy was put.
This was contained in a tweet on the verified Twitter handle of The Nigerian Senate, @NGRSenate.
“Senator Bassey Akpan cited Orders 43 and 95 and drew the attention of the Senate to the various emails and complaints from the general public on the unauthorised withdrawal of $3.5bn by NNPC from the NLNG account,” the Senate added.
“I ask that the Senate Committee on Gas immediately investigate this matter,” Senator
Bassey Akpan said; while Senator Emmanuel Paulker urged that “The ad hoc committee that was set up should carry on with their work, while the Committee on Gas should also investigate the matter.”
The Senate said on Tuesday that it was investigating claims that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation illegally took more than $1bn from natural gas proceeds to fund fuel subsidy payments.
Despite being Africa’s largest crude producer, Nigeria relies on fuel imports to meet domestic demand because of its dilapidated refineries.
The imported petrol is subsidised by the government in an increasingly opaque scheme that has been described as a sprawling web of patronage and mismanagement.
In October, the Senate said it was probing spending by the NNPC of some $3.5bn in import subsidies which were not approved by the National Assembly.
“An ad hoc committee was set up to investigate the $3.5bn NNPC subsidy use. The particular issue of $1.05bn that Nigeria took from NLNG (Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas company) came up,” said Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan in a statement posted to the Senate’s official Twitter account.
The NNPC has said in the past that high oil prices and fuel smuggling to bordering West African countries were driving up fuel subsidy payments.
But there are growing fears that the ballooning subsidy bill could be due to corruption.