January 29, 2018 3.40PM /Proshare WebTV
It is my pleasure
to be declaring open this very critically important public hearing by
the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream on the Subsidy Payment by
For years, our
country has been plagued with the issue of fuel subsidy and for
too long, a scheme designed to reduce the burden on the poor has
become the cash cow of a few who continue to milk the country
dry in trillions under a process so opaque and insulated from public
scrutiny called fuel subsidy.
You would recall that
it was only after my motion on the 5th of March 2012, with
the support of my colleagues in the 7thSenate and after a
thorough review and investigation of the scheme we
unearthed the monumental fraud bigger than our capital budget for a
year going on in the name of fuel subsidy.five years down the line we
are back on the same matter. This is not acceptable and we are determined to
get to the bottom of it.
colleagues, the mere fact that we are here again today to discuss this issue
shows that those who benefit from this grand deception are not willing to
let loose and government have not done what we need to do to nip this problem
in the bud.
and gentlemen, this Senate had cut short the end of year recess of
this committee to immediately intervene and investigate
the root causes of the recent resurfacing of queues
at pump stations nationwide.
The findings of the
committee have brought to light the fact that our downstream oil and gas
industry needs critical reforms. It has exposed among other things that in
spite of the stoppage of the fuel subsidy regime, and the
non-appropriation of fundsfor the scheme due to the fraud and
maladministration going on in the scheme, that fuel subsidy
payments continue to be paid from our commonwealth illegally
and without appropriation by the National Assembly to a few
quietly in order to dodge scrutiny and avoid exposure.
But this 8thSenate
is here to expose every corruption in the system irrespective of how highly
place those involved are and therefore the reason for this public
and illegal practice must be addressed and we are not going to rest until
it is fully addressed.
It is the duty of this
committee to get to the bottom of this issue and proffer long lasting solutions
to this racketeering in the fuel market that leaves the Nigerian people poorer
questions this committee must seek answers to are;
(1) What is the actual quantity of fuel
the Nigerian market consumes?
(2) What are the underlining reasons why the
market is struggling to operate without government intervention, in
other words why the reoccurring scarcity?
(3) Third and equally crucial is the process
and all those involved in signing out unbudgeted funds outside
the budget passed by the National Assembly.
This hearing today spotlights
the importance of the recently
passed Petroleum Industry Governance
Bill (PIGB), which after many years and several obstacles
faced, has been passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives for
the first time in 17year and is ready for the assent of Mr.
It is our belief that
this piece of legislation if implemented to the letter has the
potential of eliminating the present distortions in the system and sanitise the
governance of the oil and gas industry of corruption and the rot
in the system.
It will introduce the
market competition that would bring efficiency to the system. It is our
hope that this will set the tone for the necessary institutional reform
required to clean this all important industry of opacity and maladministration.
Before I close my
remark, let me implore the committee to ensure that they carry out
a comprehensive investigation of these issues and advise
the Senate on appropriate steps to take to make sure that never again are we
going to be back here discussing these issues anymore and Nigerians will no
longer be queuing to buy fuel at the pump stations ever again.
I am glad
that everyone in this room has an interest in stamping out fuel
scarcity from our market; we are united to stamping out fraud
and corruption in the industry. Therefore, I thank you again for
taking time to be here this morning and I look forward to your active
participation and what will no doubt be thought-provoking discussions.
With this few words let
me formally declare this public hearing open.
God bless you
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