By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—GOVERNORS of the 36 states of the federation, yesterday said that states should be saddled with the responsibility of determining how much should be paid as subsidy by the federal government. Rising from a meeting in the early hours of yesterday in Abuja, the governors, under the aegis of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, said the responsibility of who determined what should be paid as subsidy should not be on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, but on the states. Answering questions from journalists at the end of the meeting, Chairman of NGF and governor of Zamfara State, Abdul’aziz Yari, said as state executives, they were asking questions over the amount the NNPC claimed it was paying as subsidy as well as the corporation’s stated quantity of local consumption which the forum was now disputing.
NNPC With dwindling accruals to states, NNPC had told the governors that it was now paying subsidy on 60 million liters daily consumption, up from 33 million liters a few months ago, but the governors are not satisfied with the corporation’s explanation. It is against this backdrop that the governors have resolved that each state will determine the quantity of the product consumed in its territory as a basis for calculating the subsidy to be paid.
Yari said: “If states say our demand is 30 million liters, you cannot say you brought 60 million liters for us. We are taking every situation carefully so that we don’t endanger the security situation of the country and at the same time, we do not play into the hands of the NNPC.” Yari, who noted that governors would not be pushing for the investigation of NNPC as the move may boomerang, said: “You see, we are in the hands of these people (NNPC) and we are trying to be cautious.” ‘’Not just NNPC, even Nigerians are not helping matters because when there is shortfall in the product, everybody will start making noise. And you will not know why there is shortfall.
“If we start to investigate, these people will create chaos that we will regret and Nigerians will not look at the damage from the base. But rather, they will start accusing government of laxity or not doing what it is supposed to be doing. “So, it’s not about investigation, it’s about knowing what’s going to happen to future supply. And this supply, the destination must be set. “That’s is why we gave the states the responsibility to go back and ascertain the quantity needed by each and every state.” The National Economic Council, NEC, led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is expected to endorse the move. The Communique issued at the end of the meeting read: “ We, the members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today at the NGF Secretariat Abuja, deliberated on a number of issues and resolved as follows:
“The Forum received an update from the NEC Sub-Committee reviewing NNPC remittances to the Federation Account. As an interim measure to checkmate the smuggling of petroleum products out of the country, members backed a resolution of the sub-committee to set-up state monitoring teams in each state to access their total fuel consumption and monitor the distribution of fuel products. “The Forum received an update from Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, on the outbreak of Lassa Fever, Cerebrospinal Meningitis, Yellow Fever, and Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including measures taken by the government to address the outbreaks. Members pledged to increase support for State epidemiology teams and the development of public health emergency centres through the State Ministries of Health.
‘’The Forum also called for stronger collaboration with the Centre and the Federal Ministry of Health to strengthen the capacity of existing emergency centres in the country. “Lastly, the Forum set up a committee to establish consultations with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, and Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, on the recovery of unremitted stamp duties from Deposit Money Banks, DMBs, and other financial institutions.”