There was a rowdy session on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday following questions as to whether or not to admit the minister of state for petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu into the chamber to keep an appointment with the lawmakers on the raging fallouts of the fuel price hike as announce by the federal government earlier.
Gbajabiamila had moved a motion to admit the minister into the chamber for an interactive session on the new price regime, but members of the PDP kicked against it, chanting “all we are saying, save Nigeria,” as they waved the country’s flag, thus preventing Kachikwu from coming into the chamber.
The rowdy session lasted for about 30 minutes, a development the speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara described as the beauty of democracy, before yielding the floor to the minority leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, to move for the House to go into an executive session, which was adopted through a voice vote.
The House reconvened later admitting the minister into its chamber.
In his presentation, Kachikwu said the new fuel price regime would encourage massive investment in infrastructure by attracting foreign directive investment (FDI) in the country.
He explained that the new price would encourage foreign investors to focus on the big tickets such as pipelines and refineries for the development of the upstream oil and gas sectors.
According to him, it will also increase refining capacity of the domestic refineries through relocation and co-relocating smaller but cost efficient refineries with a time frame of 12 to 24 months.
“It will focus on restoring upstream production, by positively engaging host communities to put the current militancy to an end once and for all,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the house yesterday constituted a 17-member ad hoc committee to interface with the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC, stakeholders and civil society organisations with a view to looking into the current fuel hike and proffer a way forward.
The ad hoc committee was given five days to submit its report.
However, members of House under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday expressed disapproval on the increase of pump price by the federal government.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that last Wednesday, the federal government approved N145 as the the pump price for petrol from N86.50k.
This was disclosed by Dr. Kachikwu to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after a stakeholders meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Following the development, labour unions in the country have decided to embark on industrial action on Wednesday if government fails to reverse its decision.
This prompted the lower chamber to quickly summon the minister to explain to Nigerians the rationale behind the new pomp price.
In his presentation, Kachikwu explained that federal government had no option because the declining oil prices had resulted in reduction in NNPC Forex earning, thereby leading to inability to cover its import bill of $550million requirement.
The minister said that the deregulation would enable the government to focus on funding in the upstream, where funding had been less than 30 percent.
“It will relieve government of monthly cash call funding and create a sustainable self funding arraignment for government equity in existing joint ventures.
“It will ensure effective development of Nigerian gas market with adequate and sustainable gas supply to power, industrial sector and develop gas-based industries for national economic growth and development.”
The minister further stated that government would continue to engage the general public and all stakeholders by providing relevant information and education.
He also said that after the announcement of the new fuel price, the market had stabilised in a matter of days in terms of product availability.
Kachikwu pointed out that the new price regime would ensure that the price of products were monitored and modulated to ensure that citizens got a fair value for products they purchased, insisting that the new price regime was not translate to deregulation of the oil industry.
On when the country would stop fuel importation, the minister maintained that it was when Nigeria attained local production sufficiency, adding that the present administration was working hard on key initiatives towards boosting local refining capacity.
On the way forward, Kachikwu said the move would ensure massive investment in infrastructure by attracting foreign direct investment to focus on pipelines, refineries and further development in the upstream oil and gas sector.
In his reaction, majority leader of the House, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila argued that only the PPPRA had the constitutional power to increase pump price with due consultation with the National Assembly.
He was of the opinion that there should be protective deregulation for the masses against undue exploitation, though he admitted that fuel deregulation was a global phenomenon, and not restricted to Nigeria.
Gbajebiamila said that all OPEC countries had deregulated their oil sector since the fall in oil price, adding that it was important that Nigeria followed suit in order to meet up with its economic challenges.

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  • dangle

    The planned strike should go ahead in-spite the court order. Does the Fed. Govt obeying court orders? The Govt. want to pocket everybody. The Govt announcement last wed. said removal of subsidy, but last Saturday the same Govt. said it is no longer subsidy removal, but an increase in price. The implication means the subsidy is yet to be removed and tomorrow the Govt will wake-up and tells Nigerians that they want to remove subsidy. The Govt is getting the sympathy because they used the word removal of subsidy and people thought that they are genuine but it is all deceit.
    Kachukwu and his pay masters are not sincere to Nigerians. Take a look at this story.
    The Bishop at Osun State, embarked in one man protest over the hike in petroluem because Osun state is APC state and both Buhari and all APC Governors, are defending the hike in petroleum price. The APC Government and Buhari has been deceiving Nigerians that he is fighting corruption. The story at page 10 of Daily Trust 16th May 2016, confirm that ALL APC Governors, Ministers has been stealing the Country blind. In the said paper the Minister of information is probing the leakage of N13,000,000 to the press. He applied to collect THE MONEY from NBC which is a parastaltal in his Ministry. WHAT IS THE USAGE OF THE MONEY? To travel to China. Recall that in Nov. 2015 the Minister collected about N20,000,000 for mere visit to National Theater Igamu Lagos.
    This is one Ministry that a lot are being stolen, then check what is happening at other Ministries with their parastaltals. Such agencies are NCC, NNPC, PPRA, VON, NTA and many others. This Government is not up to one year and see the corruption level rocking Information Ministry.