* As Adeosun, Kachikwu, Baru shun probe on fuel template
- Lower chamber’s c’ttee to unravel how price differential is paid
The House of Representatives joint committee on Finance and Petroleum Resources Downstream investigating the huge payment of subsidy on imported refined petroleum products by the President Muhammadu Buhari- led administration on Tuesday, walked out officials of the Petroleum Product Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) over improper representation.
The joint committee gave the directive during an interactive session with officials of the PPPRA, after it became apparent that the agency was represented at the session by low level officials.
This is just as the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru failed to show up at the session without sending any representives.
Peeved by this development, the joint committee chairman, Hon Babangida Ibrahim, (APC, Katsina) in his ruling declared that, “We shall start a full scale public hearing on the issue (subsidy payments).
“We must get to the bottom of this matter and know who pays the difference of the landing cost of fuel which is N160 and the control price of N145.”
He added that “all the invitees from the Minister of Finance to the NNPC chief executive, all failed to show up except the PPPRA which had earlier submitted all the essential information we needed, but unfortunately we cannot take you.
“They all failed to show up to explain why the landing cost of fuel is between N160 to N170 and we don’t know their source of funding the gap between the control price of N145 and N170.
“As we speak, no subsidy payment was captured in the 2017 budget and even in the 2018 Budget proposals nothing was mentioned about subsidy payment. So the question is who has been funding the gap so far.
“Since they all failed to show up, we will commence a full public hearing on the issue and get to the bottom of the matter as PPPRA cannot be taken.
“You are on track as we have seen the template you submitted which has confirmed our fears that we pay more on fuel. But you failed to come with your executive secretary.”
At this point, Hon Sunday Adepoju, moved for the joint committee to sanction the erring government officials, since no letter was sent and no representives was sent by the affected agencies to attend the interactive session.
“I think the House should take the appropriate action against the agencies by suspending this hearing immediately,” he said.
Members of the committee concurred with the motion and thereafter, the session was suspended.
The Daily Times recalls that the House had on January 17 mandated the committees on finance and petroleum resources downstream to probe the source of the fuel subsidy payments as the funds were not appropriated by the National Assembly.