The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that the Presidency is going to work with the figure of N422 billion as the actual amount that was fraudulently spent on petroleum subsidy as against the N1.7 contained in the investigation and report submitted by the National Assembly and N2 trillion touted in some quarters.
According to her this amount was from 20 forensic reports carried out by? foreign accounting? firms. However she pointed out that the final report by the task force set up by the presidency on the subsidy was submitted yesterday and whatever it said would be implemented by the government.
Okonjo-Iweala also stated that some oil marketers had summitted documents to confirm that they actually brought in fuel, adding that “today we will know the exact amount , but whether it is N160 billion or N200 billion, whatever the amount, we will find out what it is and prosecute the fraudulent marketers.”
She maintained that though the Ad-hoc committee set up by the National Assembly had come up with N1.7 trillion, “I just want to say we really need to know the exact size of what is fraudulent and what is genuine.”??
On the strength of the nation’s economy, she said that the excess crude account has hit $6.98 billion as at July 2012, and is expected to build up to $10 billion by the end of the year.
Speaking with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) at a dialogue session organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in Lagos yesterday, Okonjo-Iweala said there is need for the country to buffer up its reserve.
Stating that the reserves need to build up to $50 billion before the end of the year (2012), she said this would serve as cushion for the Nigerian economy in case of any global economic recess.
“There is a lot of global uncertainty, and in that respect we still need to make sure that we build sufficient buffers to protect us.
“If anything should happen, we don’t have enough in our excess crude account or the reserves to save us. So we need to turn this around and build buffers sufficient to take care of the country of the entire country for three months.”