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Fuel Scarcity: Kachikwu, Baru to appear before Senate today

Kachikwu, Baru to appear before Senate today

Also to be grilled are regulatory bodies, marketers and other stakeholders in the petroleum sector – they will appear before the Senate Committee on Petroleum.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; and the NNPC Group Managing Director Mr. Maikanti Baru are expected to appear before the Senate on Thursday, January 4, 2018, over the current fuel crisis across the country.

According to Punch, regulatory bodies, marketers and other stakeholders in the petroleum sector will also be grilled by the the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream).

The investigative hearing, which would be aired live by the Nigerian Television Authority, is expected to hold in Room 231 at the Senate wing of the National Assembly Complex.

Last Thursday, the Senate President directed the committee to cut short its recess and immediately convene a meeting with stakeholders in the petroleum sector over the lingering petrol scarcity that marred the Christmas and New Year celebrations for many Nigerians.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Kabiru Marafa, had raised questions on the alleged payment of N26 per litre to subsidise the pump price of petrol, which the NNPC put its landing cost at N171 but sells at N145.

He wondered how the Federal Government, through the NNPC, is maintaining a pump price of N145 per litre when the landing cost of the commodity was now N171.

"While this problem is raging, we hear of accusations and counter-accusations from the NNPC, IPMAN, DAPMAN and MOMAN, with letters flying all over the place over hoarding and sabotage", Marafa had said.

He continued, "Part of what we are going to ask is, we were told that there is subsidy. If there is subsidy, who approved the subsidy? We are the only ones who can appropriate money (for the government), nobody else. That is why the Senate spoke resoundingly before going on recess when they talked about taking $1bn (from the Excess Crude Account) to fight insurgency. Nobody can take any money without the approval of the Senate. If you do that, you are breaching the provisions of the Constitution."

"So, if you are going to provide for subsidy, you have to come to the parliament. We need to know and that is part of what we are going to ask.

"Now, if they say there is subsidy when the price (of petrol) rose to N145, the common belief by all Nigerians was that subsidy was gone and gone for good. Now, they are telling us that the landing cost of petrol is N171. If it is N171, who approved the subsidy or payment of the remaining balance? Where is it buried? Who appropriated it? What are we going to do in the next few days, months and years to come? We need to address these issues squarely because a lot of Nigerians are misinformed about this subsidy issue.

"Between 2006 and the figures we have for 2016, the NNPC alone got N5.1tn for subsidy, while the marketers collected over N4tn. Put them together, we are talking of over N10tn spent on subsidy. I am asking, what is the impact of these monies that are being paid on our behalf to subsidise petroleum products? Why are we afraid? If we take the N10tn to the road sector or railway, power, agriculture, what are we going to expect?

"We need to ask some very honest questions. We should not be sentimental about these things."

ALSO READ: Marketers blame NNPC for crisis, dismiss hoarding allegations

Marafa also mentioned that the panel would seek to review the supply policy adopted by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Those to be questioned include the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, and the Department of Petroleum Resources.


Curated: Meets

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