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Fact Check: Oshiomhole’s Claim That Obasanjo Spent $30bn On Petrol Subsidy False

Obasanjo was Nigeria’s president between 1999 and 2007.

Oshiomhole emerged the NLC President in 1999 and lasted until 2007 when he ran for a gubernatorial election in Edo State.

He was prominently known for his past roles in kicking against fuel subsidy as labour leader.

On Wednesday, during an interview session on Arise TV, the APC chieftain while responding to questions on his support for subsidy removal by his principal, Bola Tinubu, APC’s presidential candidate, Oshiomhole claimed that subsidy was low during the Obasanjo administration at $20bn and $30bn annually.

He said, “The issue of statement about subsidy, I don’t even think had the word phasing. The issue whether the subsidy should stay or not. My view is we should now be talking not about subsidy, we should be talking about the opportunity cost.

“When I was President of the NLC, we fought against withdrawal of subsidy and for good reasons. Then, the numbers were between $20bn $30bn a year and I do remember (former)President Obasanjo reminding us what he can do with $20bn, $30bn and $40bn.

“But now, we are talking about N6trn. So, for me, there are two issues that we now have to confront. Dealing with the opportunity cost of throwing N6trn not to fuel, because fuel is not limited to PMS.

“As we speak, people are having to cope with N700, N800 a litre of diesel and mass transit, buses are using diesel and they are having to pay N700. People running small businesses who happen to use generator, they are having to spend N800 per litre and there is no issue.

“I ask myself, who is consuming N6trn in PMS? How many poor people have vehicles that benefit from this? So, as far as I’m concerned, we are now dealing with fraud.”

Verification of Claim

But checks by THE WHISTLER have shown that Oshiomhole’s claim that Nigeria spent “$20bn to $30bn on fuel subsidy” is not true.

Findings by THE WHISTLER from the 2006 approved budget under Obasanjo reveals that N1.9 trillion ($14.6bn at N130/$) was approved for subsidy payment.

In the budget proposal of 2007 under Obasanjo, the government proposed N2.3trn ($17.96bn at N128/$) fuel subsidy. This was the highest under the Obasanjo led government.

Also, paper published on the Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review titled ‘Deregulation and Anti-Subsidy Removal Strikes in Nigeria, 2000 -2012’ estimated that N1.3trn was spent annually on subsidy under the Obasanjo administration.

THE WHISTLER

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