26 September 2013, Abuja – Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison Madueke did not save the nation N850 billion. Rather, the credit should go to the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has said.
According to him, it was the Minister of Finance who put in place an effective payment mechanism that has made it impossible to draw funds for projects that have not been executed or not executed to specifications.
Jibrin, who spoke with The Nation, said the Petroleum Resources Minister would have done the country a lot of good and in the spirit of transparency and accountability if facts backed with figures were made available to Nigerians on how the N850 billion was saved.
He said: “The Minister of Petroleum Resources didn’t save that money; it is the Minister of Finance that saved that money but when it comes to credit, the Minister of Petroleum is very quick to take credit.
“The question is, when it comes to failure in the oil and gas industry, has the Petroleum Resources Minister ever taken any responsibility for all the failure that we have in the petroleum industry.”
He continued: “Let’s take it that she saved that money, can she admit to Nigerians and take responsibility for the failures that we have had in that industry? Has she talked about the increasing oil theft and the huge loss of revenue and taken responsibility for it?
“I say this because between 2010 and 2011, the sector she supervises lost about N2 trillion, but is it not absurd that two years after, she starts to claim to have saved N850billion?
“As Chairman of Finance Committee, my challenge is: What about the N2 trillion that was lost? Have we recovered it? How did we lose it? Was she not the one in charge?
“Nigerians would also like to know how she has improved in her management skills to preside over that oil sector to have witnessed this marked change.”
Jibrin said it would be mischievous for anyone to brand him as defender of the Minister of Finance having been one of her greatest critics.
He said he hinged his position on the issues raised by the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and backed with facts and figures presented by the Minister of Finance.
– Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, The Nation