Akinlaja Led Downstream Committee Summons Kachikwu, Baru, Others

The House of Representatives has again queried the N24bn which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation claim it incurs monthly on payment of subsidy on imported Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol.

The lower chamber described the expenditure as “an act of illegality” as the funds are allegedly paid without appropriation by the National Assembly.

The landing cost of a litre of PMS is said to be N171, leaving a difference of N26, but the government-approved pump price is N145.

The price differential and other challenges, including allegations of smuggling by syndicates, leave a monthly subsidy bill of N24bn.

The Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Mr. Joseph Akinlaja, told the house that a full-scale investigation into the “back-door return” of subsidy payment would start this week.

Akinlaja also confirmed names of officials that had been summoned to appear before the House probe panel.

He said the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru; and the heads of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company and the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency had been summoned to appear at the session.

Akinlaja reiterated the National Assembly’s stance that subsidy was neither captured in the 2017 budget nor in the 2018 budget still awaiting passage by the legislature.

He said, “What they (NNPC) are doing is illegal. We don’t know where the management got the approval to make the payments.

“They did not approach the National Assembly for any approval. That is why we say they have questions to answer. They need to tell Nigerians whether subsidy is back?

“We have an investigation to conduct and it will start next week (this week) for stakeholders to come and talk about this subsidy and other renewed challenges in our oil industry, particularly the supply chain in the downstream sector.”

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