“Hand back your loots”.. House committee urges NNPC, others to refund One trillion Naira

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House of Reps seal

The House of Representative ad-hoc Committee set-up to investigate the management of the fuel subsidy scheme has recommended that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA) and some oil marketers should refund over N1trillion to the nation’s treasury.

The Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Farouk Lawan laid the report before the house two months after his panel completed its public hearing on the management of the fuel subsidy scheme.

After laying the 205 page report, the Speaker of the House of Representative, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said that the report will be considered next Tuesday.

The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on the Management of the Petrol Subsidy Fund commenced a public hearing on the subsidy scheme this January.

This was in response to a nationwide strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress to protest the removal of petrol subsidy by the federal government. The three-week long public hearing ended on February 9.

About 140 oil firms that participated in the Petroleum Support Fund appeared before the committee during the hearings to explain their roles in the scheme.

Government officials such as the Ministers of Petroleum Resources, Finance, as well as executives of the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA) and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) also appeared before the committee.

The report has 61 recommendations.

The ad-hoc committee said it “found that the subsidy regime, as operated between 2009 and 2011 were fraught with endemic corruption and entrenched inefficiency.”

Much of the amount claimed to have been paid for subsidy was actually not for consumed PMS.

The committee indicted the NNPC severally and recommended that the management and board of the corporation be completely overhauled and some of the officials investigated and prosecuted.

The report also recommends that all staff of the PPPRA and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) involved in the processing of applications by importers and verification of products imported be investigated and prosecuted.

Another recommendation is that over N1 trillion be refunded to the treasury by the NNPC, oil marketers and the PPPRA for various violations.

Some marketers, identified by the committee, as having short-changed Nigerians, are also recommended to make refunds within a time frame of three months.

The report and these recommendations remain to be debated and adopted by the house.

Only then will it be backed by the full force of the House of Representatives.

Other recommendations include:

· Marketers without storage facilities and retail outlets should be excluded from participating in the PSF scheme.

· All those in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Office of the Director general Budget and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation involved in the Extra budgetary expenditure under the PSF scheme (2009-2011) should be sanctioned in accordance with civil service rules and the code of conduct Bureau.

· The overhauling of the PPMC management.

NNPC reacts

While the house gets ready to deliberate on the fuel subsidy probe report, an initial response, albeit shot and crisp, has been issued by the NNPC.

A very shot e-mail sent by the group general manager (public affairs division) of the NNPC, Levi Ajuonuma said ‘‘we have not seen the report and we don’t have a copy yet. But when we do get a copy, as a responsible corporate entity, the NNPC will study it and come up with a position.’’

Source: Channelstvnews