President Muhammadu Buhari says the federal government has set aside N305 billion or $1 billion for fuel subsidy payments in the 2019 budget.

Speaking to the joint session of the national assembly on Wednesday in Abuja, the president said the amount will be used to cater for NNPC “under-recoveries”.

“We have allowed N305 billion, equivalent to $1 billion for under-recoveries by NNPC on premium motor spirit in 2019,” Buhari said.

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“We will continue working to bring it downwards, so that such resources are freed to meet the developmental needs of our people.

“Let me also use this opportunity to address and clarify the under-recoveries or subsidies on petrol in a period of economic challenges, our purchasing power is weak, we must reduce some of the burden on Nigerians.”

The president went on to explain that subsidies today are much more different from what they used to be in the past, stating that the NNPC is the sole importer of oil today.

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“The problem in subsidies in the past was abuse and corruption. Today, the government through the NNPC is the sole importer of premium motor spirit,” Buhari added.

“Therefore the under-recovery is from the NNPC trading account. This means the possibilities of some marketer falsifying claims are removed.”

The senate recently confirmed that $1.05 billion NLNG dividend to the Nigerian state was also used for fuel imports in 2018.

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