JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU & JOSEPH ERUNKE
ABUJA — THE Senate on Thursday rejected a motion to stop the alleged daily deduction of N700 million on kerosene subsidy by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and other government agencies charged with the regulation of the petroleum products in the country.
Instead, the Senate referred the motion to the Committee on Finance that had been investigating the alleged scam in the operation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as regards the subsidy regime in the country.
Senator Babajide Omoworare, All Progressives Congress, APC, Osun East,had in a motion entitled: ‘Urgent Need to Stop N700 million – A Daily Illegal Kerosene Subsidy,’ canvassed that the Minister of Petroleum Resources and other agencies of government charged with the regulation
of the petroleum products should stop forthwith the alleged illegal operation of kerosene subsidy until the legal status of the scheme was determined by the appropriate authorities.
He noted that the subsidy scheme had gulped N4.2 billion in just six days since the stakeholders admitted during Senate Public Hearing on the alleged tragic illegality.
Senator Omowarare had in his motion also noted that through admissions by the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Finance as well as verified findings emerging from the on-going finance committee investigation, that the current kerosene subsidy scheme was manifestly illegal, unconstitutional and a brazen breach of the Appropriation Act.
He also alleged that it was clear that NNPC was short-changing thecountry by paying kerosene subsidy.
“The current kerosene subsidy scheme is manifestly illegal,unconstitutional and a brazen breach of the Appropriation Acts passed by the National Assembly as they have been expenditure of public funds in contravention of sections 80 and 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution and attendant Appropriation Acts.
“Less than 10 per cent of petroleum products outlets across the country sell kerosene at the alleged subsidised rate of N50 per liter while the general price is not less than N150 per ,” he stated.
He explained that rather than reduce the suffering of poor and hapless Nigerians, the kerosene subsidy had become a conduit pipe for draining the country’s resources.
“Since it has been incontrovertibly established that the Kerosene Subsidy scheme runs outside the national budget, it thereby impacts dangerously on the Fiscal stability of our collective economic wellbeing and our future as a sovereign constitutional democratic entity.