Nigeria govt agencies give lawmakers the run-around

*Deny okaying payment of subsidy

Ben Agande
& Emman Ovuakporie

20 January 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA– GOVERNMENT agencies involved in management of Nigeria’s petroleum subsidy Thursrday denied before the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Regime Monitoring, knowing the body responsible for the authorisation of subsidy payments.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke had told the Adhoc Committee Tuesday that she could not say anything about who authorised the payment of subsidy since she was under oath.

Also the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had spoken in the same vein, claiming that as at the time she resumed in August 2011, she could not certainly point at the body that authorised payment of subsidy.

The Minister of Finance appearing again Thursday, when asked by the Chairman of the Investigative Committee, Farouk Lawan, to explain the manner the NNPC made the subsidy deductions and who made the authorisation, gave same response given on Tuesday that she did not know.

The Chairman had also asked her why KPMG audit report was not being implemented and the Minister told the committee that henceforth, all leakages observed would be plugged by the Ministry of Finance.

Asked who registers importers that bring petrol into the country, Dr Okonjo-Iweala answered in the negative, saying her ministry was not in an way involved in the registration of importers or issuance license to any company.

On Wednesday, the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Mr Reginald Stanley, also said he was not in the know of who authorised subsidy deductions.

Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr Austen Oniwon, had spoken in the same vein when he faced the panel.

The Director General, Budget, Mr Bright Okogwu, also evaded the question of who makes authorisation for subsidy deductions as he simply said all leakages would be plugged henceforth.

About the Author