This time, the House is NNPC account for the expenditure and subsidy on kerosene.
Worried that the country had spent N634 billion on subsidising kerosene in the last three years, the House mandated its committee on petroleum resources (downstream) to probe the NNPC by establishing the actual amount spent on subsidising the product from 2010-2013.
Similarly, the committee was detailed to establish the source of the money used in financing kerosene subsidy and the relevant budgetary approval for such.
In addition, it is to determine the companies benefitting from subsidy of the product.
The committee will also establish the extent to which the subsidised kerosene gets to the consumers at the regulated price and investigate all incidental issues relating to kerosene supply and distribution.
Raising the motion for the investigation, Hon. Adeyinka Ajayi (Osun), noted that “kerosene, which is supposedly sold to marketers at N40.90K hardly gets to the consumers at the regulated price as it is only the NNPC retail outlets that sells the product at N50 per litre while other major and independent marketers sell the product at between N130-N135 per litre.”
He explained that “There are conflicting claims by the Hon. Minister and the NNPC on the source of money through which kerosene is subsidised and the amount involved therein as the office of the minister was neither said to have been aware of nor had it authorised any such payment.”
Meanwhile, the House yesterday constituted a six-member committee to meet in conference with the Senate to resolve the differences over the crude oil benchmark for the 2014 budget.
Both chambers had passed different oil benchmark prices when they considered the 2014-2016 Medium Term Expenditure Framework.
While the Senate passed $76.5 as the benchmark, the House approved $79.
President Goodluck Jonathan initially proposed $74.
The Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, who announced the committee in Abuja, said it would be chaired by the Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Mr. Abdulmumini Jibrin.
The Chairman, Committee on Aids/Loans/Debt Management, Mr. Adeyinka Ajayi, and four others are members of the committee.
According to him, racketeering on kerosene is rife at the NNPC where dealers purchase the product from the depot at between N65 and N75 per litre, “which makes it commercially impossible to resell to Nigerians at the recommended retail price of N50.”
He expressed confidence that the probe will engender transparency and accountability thus ensuring proper supply of the product to Nigerians and “reduce the use of non-eco friendly alternative sources of energy.”
In his contribution to the debate of the motion, Hon. Ahmed Babba Kaita (APC, Katsina), stated that supply of kerosene would assist the government greatly in fighting desertification, stressing that “the issue of kerosene has implication on the economy, which different agencies of government treat with lack of seriousness.”
On his part, Hon. Ford Ike argued that the motion should be taken seriously as the product is important to all Nigerians, irrespective of their socio-economic status.
Equally, Hon. Rapheal Nnanna emphasised that the committee, which has four weeks to submit its report should unravel why the product is not readily available in some parts of the country.