We all know Government officials hate the word subsidy especially if it has to do with petroleum products even though it’s a fight they always lose. But that won’t stop them from showing their disgust whenever giving to opportunity to. And so the Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Mr. Dakuku Peterside who was the guest speaker at the 2013 seminar/luncheon of the Petroleum Downstream Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government spent N110bn on kerosene subsidy in 2010, N324bn in 2011and N200bn in 2012, which came up to N634bn in the three years. In his words;
In the year 2010, we spent N110,068,533,988 to subsidise kerosene. This is not the cost of kerosene but the cost of subsidising the product alone. In 2011, it got worse and the government spent N324,089,961,319 on kerosene subsidy. Although we have yet to reconcile this, we spent N200bn in subsidising kerosene in 2012. So, in three years, we have spent N634bn subsidising kerosene. This is one third of what we spend in a year on capital budget.
Kerosene is supposed to be sold for N40.90k per litre, but it currently goes for between N110 and N150, depending on the location from where it is being bought. Besides, the product is scarce at filling stations, thereby leaving Nigerians to settle for alternative sources of energy such as firewood, charcoal, sawdust, electricity and gas. kerosene may continue to be scarce due to some critical factors that have eaten deep into the fabrics of the nation such as non-functional refineries, vandalism of crude pipelines, corruption and the multi-purpose usage of the product.
It seems the Government has given up fighting the “cartel” that ensures kerosene is not sold at the official price.