Wednesday 27th Oct.2021:The former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor and dethroned emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, has questioned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government on why it continues to pay millions of dollars on fuel subsidies without appropriation. .
Sanusi who stated this while speaking virtually as a panelist on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the just concluded Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja, added that the constitution allows President Muhammadu Buhari to be impeached for the act.
“Every year, the government spends millions upon millions of dollars on fuel subsidies without appropriation. Under the constitution, this is enough ground to impeach the President.
“But nobody is holding them to account. The National Assembly is not holding them to account,” he said.
The former CBN governor said the federal government’s populist approach was hurting the nation while urging the Buhari-led regime to be courageous enough to take the right decisions, saying the country was running a populist instead of a developmental state.
“Those in government must understand that there are times that you have to make some decisions not because they are popular but because they are right. We have to decide to run a developmental state and not a rental state; not a populist state,” the former emir said.
“We are pursuing a populist policy: we want to have cheap fuel, cheap electricity, a strong Naira. That is populism. At the end of the day, what price are we paying by taking money out of education in order to subsidise petroleum products?” he said.
“This money coming from petrol belongs to the federation account, and the federal government doesn’t have the constitutional right to pay subsidy on behalf of the federation.
“So it is a fundamental constitutional issue because this is money that should go to the federal, states and local governments. Yet money that belongs to the federation is carried out as federal government expenditure. So, there are so many complex issues, legal and economic issues. We need to stop these issues” he said.
“I have said this before even as a CBN Governor under the previous government. What I say is not of a particular government. Take petroleum subsidy. In 2015 or 2016, Minister Ibe Kachukwu said Nigerian was importing 30 million litres of PMS per day after eliminating corruption. In 2019, the NNPC said we are importing 59 million litres per day after oil prices have gone up. And I have been asking the question, what happened between 2015 and 2019 that our oil consumption has almost double?” he asked.
He noted that “this is what also happened under the previous government. When oil prices go up, NNPC said they are importing more because of the arbitrage. Thus, when the oil prices go high, there is an incentive to inflate the number” he noted.