By Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, and the Minster of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, have been summoned to appear before a House of Representatives joint committee Thursday, next week, to explain their roles in an alleged unbudgeted funds being paid as fuel subsidy.
Also summoned to appear unfailingly on the same date are the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Maikanti Kachalla Baru and the heads of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF).
The joint committee was a combination of the Committees on Finance and Petroleum (downstream) chaired by Babangida Ibrahim (Katsina, APC) and Joseph Akinlaja (Ondo, PDP) respectively.
The resolution of the committee to summon the stakeholders was due to the failure of the government officials to appear before it during Thursday sitting despite several invitations extended to them.
The committee is acting by the mandate of the House to investigate allegations of subsidy payment despite claims by government that it is no longer paying petroleum subsidy.
There were allegations that billions of naira is still being paid as subsidy with proper budgetary approvals.
Hon. Ibrahim said there are documented evidence that the landing cost of petroleum products is far above the government approved N145 a litre, adding that the task before the committee is to know who is paying for the differential.
”The mandate given to this joint committee on finance and petroleum (downstream) by the House are to invite the minister of state for petroleum and finance minister; the GMD of NNPC as well as ES of PPPRA, and urge the Executive to make provision for subsidy payment in the 2019 budget.
“Unfortunately, the heads of the relevant MDAs are not here, and they are very central to our mandate. So what do we do now as a committee for us to carry out our assignment?” he asked.