By Omotilewa Quadri
The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the bill for an Act to provide for the Governance and Institutional framework for the Petroleum Industry and for other related matters, through third reading.
The 13 years old 191 page bill, which seeks to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) provides for establishment of a Federal Ministry of Petroleum Incorporated; Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission; Nigerian Petroleum Assets Management Company and National Petroleum Company and Petroleum Equalisation Fund.
Deputy Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bills, Victor Nwokolo, who led the debate on the report, explained that the regulatory bill will balkanize NNPC and create the National Petroleum Commission, which will take over the functions of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
In a separate development, the House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, over the reported payment of fuel subsidy by the NNPC.
The lawmakers also summoned the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru, over the issue.
The summon followed a motion on ‘Urgent need to investigate the fuel subsidy payment by the NNPC’ introduced by Karimi Sunday, member representing Yagba East/Yagba West/Mopa-muro, Kogi state.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had said the NNPC bears the burden of fuel subsidy and not the federal government, a claim that had generated backlash from some Nigerians.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the lawmakers described the reported payment of subsidy by the NNPC as illegal and contrary to the provisions of the section 80(4) of the 1999 Constitution, which prescribes that no monies shall be withdrawn from the consolidated revenue fund or any of the federation account unless approved by the National Assembly.
The lawmakers resolved that Kachikwu and Baru should appear before the house committee on finance and petroleum downstream to explain the current subsidy payment by the corporation.
Baru and Kachikwu are also expected to account for the monies expended on the subsidy payment since January 2017 till date and the current petroleum pricing regime.
While noting that the 2018 appropriation bill does not include any provision for such subsidy payment, the house asked the executive to make provision for it should it deem it fit to continue the payment.
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