The administration of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), could spend not less than N10.976tn as subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, from when it came to power in 2015 till May 2023.
Already the government has spent about N6.88tn in subsidising the commodity, according to data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
The President and his party, the All Progressives Congress while campaigning in 2015, kicked against the fuel subsidy scheme that was implemented by the previous administration of the Peoples Democratic Party.
NEITI stated in a report submitted last month to the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the fuel subsidy regime from 2013 to 2022, that petrol was subsidised all through these years.
Figures from the report showed that fuel subsidy gulped N316.7bn in 2015; N99bn in 2016; N141.63bn in 2017; N722.3bn in 2018; N578.07bn in 2019; and N134bn in 2020.
Although the NEITI report did not state the amount spent in 2021 and 2022, figures obtained from NNPC indicated that fuel subsidy jumped to N1.43tn in 2021.
NNPC data also showed that petrol subsidy gulped N2.565tn between January and August this year. The oil company, however, described its subsidy spending as under-recovery.
NNPC said its under-recovery of PMS/value shortfall, otherwise called fuel subsidy, was N210.38bn, N219.78bn, N245.77bn and N271.59bn in January, February, March and April 2022 respectively.
In the months of May, June and July, petrol subsidy gulped N327.07bn, N319.18bn and N448.78bn, respectively. In August this year, subsidy gulped N525.71bn. The total sum spent on PMS subsidy during the eight months was put at N2.565tn.
The amount spent on subsidy in September 2022 has not been released yet by NNPC, as well as what the company could spend in the remaining three months in 2022.
However, going by the global cost of crude oil and the volume of petrol consumed in Nigeria since January, which are the major factors that drive subsidy, the oil company might still spend over N200bn monthly on subsidy.
The least amount that it spent on subsidy in the eight-month period so far captured in 2022 was N210.38bn. This implies that should crude oil prices continue to fluctuate between $90 and $100/barrel, the company’s monthly subsidy spending would not go below N200bn.
Hence, the company would spend not less than N800bn as a subsidy on petrol from September to December 202
In the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, the Federal Government proposed to spend N3.3tn on fuel subsidy between January and June 2023.
Early this month, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, told members of the House of Representatives that the Federal Government’s projection was to spend N6.72tn on subsidy in 2023.
She, however, said the second option of the government was to keep subsidy till June 2023 and that in this option, fuel subsidy was projected to gulp N3.3tn.
A combination of all the above figures indicated that the Buhari regime could spend nothing less than N10.976tn on petrol subsidy from 2015 and June 2023.
Oil marketers, economists, and global financial institutions, among others, are not comfortable with the persistent rise in Nigeria’s fuel subsidy, amidst the country’s high indebtedness and other economic challenges.
They explained that the fuel subsidy cost over the last 2.5 years represented a lost opportunity to invest in key capital resources to raise the literacy, standard of living and security of the average Nigerian.
“Nigeria’s fuel subsidy programme has continued to limit remittances to the Federal Account Allocation Committee by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, for distribution to the Federal Government, states and Local Government Areas,” the President, Petroleum Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry told our correspondent.