A statement by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu stated that the President during a meeting with a delegation of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission at the Presidential Villa in Abuja lamented the role of various past leaders in running the country aground by allowing the collapse of the nation’s refineries.
President Muhammadu Buhari expressed disappointment that past leaders deliberately allow the collapse of the refineries so as to allow their cronies the latitude to steal by importing refined petroleum products while also spending billions of naira on subsidies for petroleum products.
He said he was convinced that there would not have been any need for the huge subsidies currently being paid to importers if the development of the country’s domestic refining capacity and petroleum products distribution network had kept pace with national demand.
“They (past administrations) allowed the infrastructure to collapse so that their cronies can steal by bringing in refined products from overseas,” Shehu quoted the President as saying.
He therefore urged the chairman and members of the RMAFC, who availed him of their view on petroleum subsidy payments, to come up with more humane proposals to rescue ordinary Nigerians from what he described as the “wicked manipulation” of the country’s oil industry by corrupt operators.
The President also warned that severe sanctions would be visited on any individual or organisation that violated his directive on the payment of all national revenues into the Federation Account.
The President noted that the 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 the revenues collected by them, did so illegally and must now comply with the Nigerian Constitution by paying all revenues into the Federation Account.
Buhari chided the RMAFC for approving what he called “excessive remunerations” for some political office holders.
He therefore urged the delegation to seek a proper interpretation of the commission’s powers and address the public outcry against the high payments.