Nigeria’s House of Representatives is seeking a comprehensive information on claims related to subsidy in petroleum in the oil rich West African nation from 2013 till date, inviting the country’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed to appear before it with relevant documents.
A committee of the lower legislative chamber gave the minister August 16 to make herself available with needful information on subsidy claims.
Chairman of Special Adhoc Committee investigating Petroleum Subsidy regime, Ibrahim Aliyu, passed the directive on Tuesday when Mr Stephen Okon, Director Home Finance in the ministry appeared before it in Abuja
Nigeria has spent humongous amount subsidising petroleum products for ordinary citizens amidst claims that it serves as a conduit for siphoning public treasury.
In April, Nigeria’s parliament approved a 4 trillion naira petrol subsidy for this year after President Muhammadu Buhari asked for additional funds to offset higher global oil prices driven by the conflict in Ukraine.
At the Abuja committee sitting of the parliamentarians, the chairman said that the minister must answer the total amount released from the consolidated revenue account as subsidy payment from 2013 till date.
He said that the breakdown of beneficiary companies that received subsidy payments from the consolidated revenue account must be submitted before it.
According to the chairman, the statement by the minister recently that the country will require N6.7 trillion to service subsidy is worrisome.
He said that it was imperative for the minister to appear before the committee to explain certain actions, adding that the subsidy would be borrowed for Nigerians to enjoy.
He added that the issue was a very serious one that required the concern of everybody, adding that the committee was holding trust for the citizenry.
Okon, however, said he had to appear because the ministry did not want to pass information that was not properly processed before the committee.
He said that he came to plead for an extension of time, adding that he was not mandated to make any presentation before the committee.
He said that the ministry would love to ask for additional time to collate the information required before the committee.