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News Update (December 23, 2011 07:22 AM...)

Oil workers seek prosecution of fraudulent fuel subsidy beneficiaries


Lagos (WorldStage Newsonline)-- Oil workers acting under the aegis of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has asked government to institute a panel to probe the alleged fraudulent acts of some oil and gas companies that illegally benefited from the subsidy of the downstream of the oil and gas sector.

PENGASSAN's President, Comrade Babatunde Ogun said, for the Federal Government to gain the confidence and trust of the people, government must make transparency to bear by conducting further investigations that will bring those behind the fraud to book.

His words: We need to know how much has been spent on the refineries overhaul to date by the various governments, with the value for money audit to determine the veracity of the various proposals that were used to demand for the colossal amount sunk into the processes.

The government should equally publish the KPMG audit report on fuel subsidy, including the names of the beneficiaries of such subsidies and ensure that those involved in the fraud do not go unpunished. The KPMG report should not be swept under the carpet.

Ogun said that PENGASSAN wanted to be put in place a judicial inquiry into the fuel subsidy pay outs which stood at about N1.3 trillion or 25 per cent of Nigerias yearly budget.

He noted that the wastages, which the government complained about in the subsidy, were not in the policy itself, but in the process of granting the subsidy on the petroleum products.

The impact of the volumes and proceeds of local fuel supplies shows easy falls against the import price parity regimes inflicted by the imported petroleum products, he said.

He said for Nigeria to breakthrough into the leagues of the top 20 most developed economies in year 2020, government must exhibit transparency in its dealings by not only publishing the KPMG report but also punish culprits.

The labour leader therefore condemned the recent unimaginable transfers and deployment of top management staff, senior officers and union leaders in the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) as a smokescreen devices to smartly douse the pressure from the public and interest groups who were demanding for a probe to expose the KPMG audit reports on the fuel subsidy pay outs scandals.

He said, PENGASSAN as one of the key stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, the anti-people intrigues in the oil and gas sector that increasingly played out would not see Nigeria attaining the position of being the economic hub in Africa.

While government feigns sincerity and commitment as the usual gimmick for soliciting the peoples understanding on the planned removal of fuel subsidy, there is no iota of reflection and commitment towards permanent stoppage of the ever increasing level of importation of petroleum products, but the stories has been more of the perpetuation of wanton wastages of public funds, and no justification of value for money.

The continuous abysmally low capacity utilization of the refineries is an ever-hurting national question still yearning for responses.

By Prince Okedinachi (pokedinachi@yahoo.com)

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