President condemns past administrations over recklessness of petroleum subsidy payment

The President restated his disappointment with the way Nigeria's oil industry had been run since he left office as Minister of Petroleum and Military Head of State.

President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Muhammadu Buhari has berated past administrations for the current situation in which Nigeria is forced to spend billions of naira annually on subsidy for petroleum products.

The president made the condemnation at a meeting with the Chairman and members of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), in Abuja on Tuesday, August 26.

He said the escalation of petroleum subsidy over recent years is due to the deliberate neglect of the nation's refineries, oil pipelines and other related infrastructure to allow the importation of petroleum products and corruption to thrive.

He said he was convinced that if the development of the country's domestic refining capacity and petroleum products distribution network had kept pace with national demand, there would not have been any need for the huge subsidies paid to importers.

"They allowed the infrastructure to collapse so that their cronies can steal by bringing in refined products from overseas’’ Buhari said.

He urged the chairman and members of the RMAFC, to go back to the drawing board and come up with more humane proposals to rescue ordinary Nigerians from the "wicked manipulation" of the country's oil industry by corrupt operators.

According to him, severe sanctions will be visited on any individual or organisation that violates the directive on the payment of all national revenue into the Federation Account.

The President said Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Nigerian Ports Authority and other MDAs which previously relied on the laws establishing them to retain all or part of revenues collected by them, did so illegally.

He said they must now comply with the Nigerian Constitution by paying all revenues to the Federation Account.

Buhari chided the RMAFC for approving excessive remunerations for some political office holders.

He urged the commission to seek proper interpretation of its powers and address the public outcry against the unreasonably high payments.

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