By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA—MEMBERS of the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Finance and Petroleum Resources probing the subsidy regime of the Federal Government, yesterday, summoned the Minister of State, Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, Group Managing Director, GMD, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mikanti Baru, Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed to appear before it next Thursday over alleged unappropriated funds being paid as fuel subsidy.
The Joint Committee on Finance and Petroleum (downstream) chaired by Babangida Ibrahim (APC, Katsina) and Joseph Akinlaja (PDP, Ondo) also summoned the GMD of NNPC, Maikanti Baru over the same issue.
The committee also summoned the heads of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, PEF.
The joint panel issued the summons following the failure of the government officials to appear before it yesterday, despite several invitations.
It will be recalled that the joint panel had been mandated by the House to probe the allegations that despite the current administration’s claims that it had removed petroleum subsidy, billions of naira is still being paid in that regard without being budgeted for.
In his address, Chairman of the Finance Committee, Ibrahim, said documents before the panel showed that the landing cost of petroleum products was far above the government approved N145 a litre.
He said the committee was set out to find out who pays for the differential, noting that the failure of the top government officials to appear before the joint panel was an affront to the legislature.
He said the joint panel had written letters requesting for relevant MDAs, but that only DPR and PPPRA submitted documents, albeit containing contradictory information.
“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.