The federal government on Thursday admitted paying as much as N120 billion to subsidise the price of petrol monthly.

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, said this at the fifth edition of the special ministerial briefings coordinated by the presidential communications team.

He said the cost was covered by the NNPC.

Mr Kyari said while the actual cost of importation and handling charges amounts to N234 per litre, the government is selling at N162 per liter.

He said sooner or later Nigerians would have to pay the actual cost for the commodity.

Even with the clear situation, Mr Kyari did not refer to the cost as “subsidy”. He merely said the NNPC pays between N100 and 120 billion a month to keep the pump price at the current levels.

The figures tally with a PREMIUM TIMES estimates of the amount paid by the government monthly to subsidise petrol.

This newspaper reported last week that as it had become clear the Nigerian government continued to subsidise the price of petrol, the nation may be expending a whopping N102.5 billion monthly to reduce the retail cost of petrol.

The sum is higher than the N70 billion the government budgeted for the provision of Universal Basic Education (UBEC) in the 2021 budget, as well as the N45.19 billion allocated for immunization.

PREMIUM TIMES analysis followed details released by the controversial price template released by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) last week.

The agency came under attacks weeks ago when it released a template indicating a huge jump in the retail price of petrol from about N160 to N212.

The decision contradicted earlier assurances by the NNPC that there will be no increment in March, prompting the government to disown it and apologise.