Petrol subsidy: Reps faults N300bn payment, summons Kachikwu, others

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday faulted the payment of N300bn in 2017 as subsidy on petrol by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with approval from the National Assembly.

It has therefore summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachickwu, GMD of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru and the Executive Secretary of the PPPRA, Abdulkadir Umar to appear before its committee on Finance and Petroleum Resources.

Leading the debate on the motion, Karimi pointed out that between January and December the federal government through the NNPC claimed to have spent over N300 billion on payment of subsidy for petrol.

He described the payment made without the approval of the parliament as a breach of Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution which provided that no money should be withdrawn from the federation account except as prescribed by the National Assembly.

According to him, in December 2017, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Ibe Kachikwu, have both admitted that the current landing cost of petrol is N171 per litre despite the fact that the Federal Government has pegged official rate at N145 per litre.

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“At the moment, it is the NNPC that is paying for the cost or deferential of N26 per litre despite the fact that government has posited that it has removed petroleum subsidy in the 2017 Appropriation Act.

“NNPC conceded that fuel subsidy has returned because between January and March 2017, the corporation recorded an `under recovery’ of N46.86 billion and this trend continued at an increasing rate all through 2017.  As a result, NNPC has been absorbing the extra cost and paying subsidy by itself.

“The 1999 Constitution (as amended) prescribes that no monies shall be withdrawn from the consolidated revenue fund or any other public fund of the federation, except in a manner prescribed by the National Assembly.

“As such, the payment of subsidy by the NNPC without appropriation or consent by National Assembly is illegal and unconstitutional,” Karimi said.

Contributing to the motion, Rep. Ahman Pategi faulted NNPC for paying subsidy to tune of 300 billion in 2017 without recourse to the parliament. He said “probably NNPC is paying the subsidy to itself.

On his part, the Deputy Chief Whip, Pally Iriase called for the full deregulation of the downstream sector to curb the corruption currently associated with it and open it up for private investment.

However, the Chairman House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Rep. Joseph Akinlaja said that the N300 billion paid to marketers are areas of subsidy owed them by the federal government.

He, however, said that the marketers were agitating that they were still owed by the federal government.

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