Post Views: 333 The Nigerian Senate, on Tuesday commenced investigating the $3.5bn spent under the ‘Subsidy Recovery Fund’ of the Nigerian National Pe...
The Nigerian Senate, on Tuesday commenced investigating the $3.5bn spent under the ‘Subsidy Recovery Fund’ of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), suspected to be a slush fund managed by two individuals.
Ruling on a motion by Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi on the need for the probe, which had become necessary because petroleum product subsidy has been abolished by the current government, directed Chairman of the Committee on Downstream Petroleum Sector to urgently summon officials of the NNPC.
Outcome of the investigation is to be presented to the Senate during plenary next week for debate on the matter.
According to Saraki, “I do not want us to be speculative. Let us go by the facts, so that our contributions are not seen to be partisan. This matter is too serious for us to be partisan about it.
“A lot of us have been around long enough to know how this matter should have been treated. Now, it has gotten to a level where it involves over $3bn — which is not a small amount of money.
“With the leave of my colleagues, if we all accept, we direct the Leader and the Chairman of the Downstream Committee, to look into this matter and report to the Senate by next week,” the Senate President said.
Addressing the chamber earlier, Olujimi lamented the development following which the ‘Subsidy Recovery Fund’ is being managed by only two individuals in the NNPC: the Managing Director and the Executive Director on Finance.
“This fund is too huge for two people to manage, and right now, the $3.5bn is too huge to be managed without appropriation without recourse to any known law of the land.
“You remember Mr. President that following the passage of the budget, you mentioned in your remarks, that there should be a budget for the subsidy and it should be brought before the National Assembly — that has not been done,” he added, drawing attention to a report by a Thisday newspaper report.
“I want to urge the Senate to cause the Committee on Downstream, Chaired by Senator Marafa, to compel the NNPC to come before the Senate Committee and explain why this is so. Nigerians need to know what has happened to the funds that have been used so far — and the new terminology that is being used under subsidy recovery,” Senator Olujimi said.
Responding, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, reminded the Senate that he had called for the executive to submit its petroleum subsidy budget to the National Assembly, when the 2018 budget was passed in May.
“Distinguished Colleagues, when we passed the budget, I said that there was a need for the executive to bring forward the budget for the subsidy.