The Senate on Monday directed the Ministry of Petroleum, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other relevant stakeholders to harmonise subsidy claims for October to December 2015.

Sen. Danjuma Goje, Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, gave the directive during public hearing to consider the request of President Muhammadu Buhari for N465 billion supplementary budget.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that out of the N465 billion, N413 billion is for payment of subsidy from January to September 2015.

Goje also asked the NNPC to furnish the committee with the breakdown of the amount to be paid to each of the independent marketers.

He queried why the supplementary budget did not include funds for payment of subsidy for the last quarter of 2015.

He said that the nation could not risk another scarcity of petroleum products due to non-payment for the months.

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The chairman expressed displeasure at the seeming lack of synergy between the relevant stakeholders and directed them to go back and harmonise their figures and submit same not later than 3p.m. on Monday.

He also directed the ministry to provide details of issues relating to subsidy payments from the last quarter of 2014 till date.

Goje said: “this government is about change; change from the sordid past; change to totally eliminate queues from our filling stations; every person must play a role to effect positive changes in the economy.

“We need the audit details for the purpose of oversight. Nothing stops us from going back to the issues even after the approval of the supplementary budget.

“We need to know the beneficiaries of the subsidy, and how they came about it.”

In an interview with newsmen, Goje said that after receiving the reconciled figures, the committee would harmonise its report and submit to the Senate at plenary on Tuesday.

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Earlier the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Jamila Soara, had told the committee that Mr Ibe Kachikwu the minister of state was in Lagos, holding meetings with major oil marketers.

She said that the major oil marketers imported 52 per cent of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), while the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC imported 48 per cent.

Given a breakdown of the proposed N413 billion, Soara said that N120.552 billion was earmarked for the outstanding sum to be paid to marketers from 2014 while N292.8 billion was for payment of subsidy from January to September 2015.

“We just called the attention of the budget office to the fact that the proposal for the last quarter of 2015 had not really been captured because it was about N108 billion,” she said.

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She pleaded for understanding from the committee, stressing that the documents were prepared before the minister and permanent secretary assumed office.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udo Udoma, requested that his ministry and that of Petroleum and Finance be allowed to meet and reconcile the figures.

The proposed reconciliation would likely include the addition of the N108 billion projected as subsidy claims for the month of October to December 2015 not captured in the N413 billion.

The Minister of Defence, Gen. Dan Ali, who also appeared at the public hearing, pledged to use budgetary allocation to the ministry to tackle insurgency and achieve maximum result.

“We would ensure maximum security would be achieved within the time frame,” he pledged.


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