REPS SUMMONS KACHIKWU OVER SUBSIDY
By Alexander Blessing
The house of representatives has summoned Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, over the
reported payment of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC).
At its plenary session on Wednesday, the
lawmakers also summoned Maikanti Baru, NNPC GMD, over the issue.
The summon followed a motion on ‘Urgent need
to investigate the fuel subsidy payment by the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) introduced by Karimi Sunday.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had said the NNPC currently bears the burden of fuel subsidy and not the Federal Government, a claim that had generated backlash from some Nigerians.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the lawmakers expressed worry over Federal Government’s claim that it has stopped fuel subsidy payments, but now being made by the NNPC through its routine trading activities.
They described the reported payment of subsidy by the NNPC as “illegal and contrary to the provisions of the section 80(4) of the 1999 constitution which prescribes that no money shall be withdrawn from the consolidated revenue fund or any of the Federation Account except as approved by the National Assembly.” The lawmakers also allayed fears that such
non-appropriated” payment of fuel subsidy “no matter how well intended — is illegal susceptible to corruption, embezzlement and mismanagement.”
They, therefore, resolved that Kachikwu and Baru
should appear before the house committee on finance and petroleum downstream “to explain the current subsidy payment by the corporation. They also resolved that the duo alongside the executive secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency should appear before the committee “to account for the money expended on the subsidy payment since January 2017 till date and the current petroleum pricing regime.”
While noting that the 2018 Appropriation Bill
does not include any provision for such subsidy payment, the house further asked the executive to make its provision in the apropriation bill, “should it deem fit” to continue the payment.