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Nigerian House Of Representatives Speaker Accuses Finance Minister, Central Bank Governor, Others Of Frustrating Probe Into Huge Fuel Subsidy

The National Assembly in the repeal and re-enactment of the Year 2022 Appropriation Act has projected the cost of subsidy for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to be over N4 trillion.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has expressed his displeasure over the non-appearance of top officials of the Nigerian Government before the Ad Hoc Committee on the Volume of Fuel Consumed Daily in Nigeria at its investigative hearing in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Speaker expressed his displeasure during the flag-off of the investigative hearing to "ascertain the actual daily consumption of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in Nigeria" and summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, and Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to appear before the Committee.


The hearing was chaired by Hon. Abdulkadir Abdullahi,

Represented by the Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Peter Akpatason, the Speaker observed that the House also mandated the Committee not to restrict its findings to the NNPC records alone, but to liaise with experts in the industry, transport workers and all other stakeholders to determine an independent finding for the benefit of Nigerians.

He cited sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which gave the House powers to inquire into the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department charged, with the duty of or responsibility for executing or administering laws enacted by the National Assembly

Tribune reports that during the hearing, the attention of the House was drawn to the lingering cases of fuel scarcity causing significant loss of manhour and untold hardship on Nigerians; controversies and concerns generated over the huge sums of money being paid as oil subsidies and the inaccuracy of data required for effective planning, supply and distribution of the premium motor spirit (PMS), also known as petrol.

“Only last week, the news was awash with the trading of blames between the NMDPRA and IPMAN over bridging the gap as a result of the rising cost of IPMAN’s operations, reportedly to the tune of over N70 billion in the interim, to address the lingering fuel scarcity.[story_link align="left"]108634[/story_link]

“The National Assembly in the repeal and re-enactment of the Year 2022 Appropriation Act has projected the cost of subsidy for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to be over N4 trillion.

“In view of the above, the House of Representatives has constituted and mandated the Ad-hoc Committee on the volume of fuel consumed daily in the country, to engage the key operators in the sector, so as to leverage on your expertise and experience in the industry and come up with a solution or template required for effective planning, supply and distribution of the premium motor spirit (PMS) in Nigeria.”

While noting that the amount being expended on fuel subsidy as reeled out by the apex bank and NNPC on the fuel subsidy is doubtful and has been contested by concerned stakeholders, the Speaker frowned on the failure of all the accounting officers to honour the invitation of the Ad-hoc Committee.[story_link align="left"]108589[/story_link]

“Now you have been given the opportunity to come here and show us what you know, bring out facts that will either confirm or controvert the stories that are out there. So that at the end of the day we are able to act on facts. But here we are.

“I know NNPC hardly absent itself from this kind of investigative hearings, they wrote a letter which is quite commendable but it’s appalling that such letter will come in at this point and there was no single representative that will come and explain why the company cannot appear before submitting the letter.

“That is not fair, how much more CBN? CBN paid these monies and people are disputing the figures that they are churning out to defend their position or clear the air. Is it that they are not taking the parliament seriously or what is that?

“I want to make it very clear that it is not acceptable to the parliament, that people, organisations that are saddled with the responsibility of managing the critical assignments like the distribution and accounting for the distribution and sale of PMS in this country will be reluctant to come here to do their duties.

“Your job is not only to go to your office and do whatever you have to do but you have to also come out and respond to the call of the government to show accountability for whatever that you are doing as an agency of government even if you are a private organisation that is also participating in the process of distribution, you must be accountable.

“So, we want to see this attempt by critical stakeholders to absent themselves from this investigative hearing as an attempt to frustrate the efforts of the committee and the parliament will not take it likely.

“And I want to say the subsequent meetings those of you who are not here, the major organisations who are not here, a lot of them are not here. Ministry of Petroleum Resources, who on earth will believe that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources will not be present here and will not send any message? Ministry of Finance is not here also; the Central Bank of Nigeria is not here; the office of the Accountant General, the popular office of Accountant General is not represented by anybody.

“Federal Inland Revenue Service is not here; this is not fair. Even PPMC is not here, they are the ones distributing and they are not here? This is not acceptable. Chairman, I thought I should make this point so that you can carry on from there,” he said.