The senate has asked the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) to stop further payment of oil subsidies.
It also asked the corporation to immediately refund the total sum of N216 billion said to have been used for subsidy payment to the consolidated revenue fund.
The senate issued the orders on Thursday after adopting the recommendations of its committee that investigated the subsidy payment done without the lawmakers’ approval.
The lawmakers described the payment as illegal and lacking in transparency.
They also ordered the corporation to pay oil marketers the outstanding arrears of subsidy payment owed them prior to 2017.
TheCable had reported that NNPC said it was subsidising the supply of petrol to the tune of N774 million every day.
The benefit of this subsidy to the national treasury, according to the NNPC, is being enjoyed by only a few as well as in neighbouring countries on the account of the continued smuggling of the fuel across the borders.
TheCable had also reported that following the NNPC’s revelation that the landing cost of petrol is N171 as against the official retail price of N145, this would mean that the corporation would have to pay N40.70 as subsidy on every litre of petrol imported to retain the retail price.
Among other recommendations of the Mathew Urhoghide-led committee which were adopted by the upper legislative chamber were that the NNPC should make a formal request through President Muhammadu Buhari for the appropriation of the payments.
They asked its committees on public accounts and budget to liase with the executive on how provision will be made for the subsidy payment in the 2018 budget.
The lawmakers also asked the auditor-general of the federation to carry out full audit of the NNPC over the last five years “to ensure transparency.”
They also called on the federal government and relevant stakeholders to give maximum cooperation to local refineries to enable them function in full capacity.
Thereafter, Saraki said: “Going forward, for 2018, we should put the figure that will capture the entire subsidy for 2018 so that when they do make these payments, they are no longer illegal payments as it will be backed by an appropriation.
“If we agree that they should pay outstanding arrears, then government will put that as part of the subsidy. We are coming to the end of the budget exercise and that is my concern. It is better we quickly rectify this for the 2018 budget and stop the deception to Nigerians.”
A similar probe on the “illegal” subsidy payment is in progress at the House of Representatives.