The Senate, yesterday, commenced the probe of oil subsidy and under-recovery regime operated by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
It specifically frowned at the N9.3 trillion spent on the subsidy regime by Buhari from January 2021 to June 2023.
The Senate is also asking for a living wage for workers as a way of cushioning the effects of subsidy removal and as well, seeks for the establishment of three functional refineries for local production and distribution of refined oil with a view to bringing down the pump price from N540 per litre to between N300 to N350 per litre.
The resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored by Chiwuba Ndubueze.
In the motion: “Need to Investigate the controversial Huge Expenditure on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) under the subsidy/under-recovery regime by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL),” Ndubueze said the step taken by President Bola Tinubu on subsidy withdrawal in May was commendable but the regime needed to be investigated.
He specifically submitted that while within 10 years (2006 – 2015), the Federal Government through NNPCL claimed N170 billion as under-recovery, it expended N843.121 billion on under-recovery between January 2018 and January 2019.
He said: “Very worrisome of the expenses made on subsidy/under-recovery by NNPCL during the period under review, particularly from January 2021 to June 2023 was N9.3 trillion claimed to have been spent.
“The money as shown by available records, shows that in 2021, N1.42 trillion was expended in 2022, N4.3 trillion and in the first six months of 2023, N3.6 trillion, totalling N9.3 trillion.”
Many of the senators, who contributed to the debate on the motion, frowned at bogus expenses made on the subsidy regime by NNPCL and supported all the prayers sought for, in the motion.
The Senate, accordingly, resolved that its standing committees on Petroleum (Downstream), Petroleum (Upstream) and Finance, should when constituted, carry out a holistic investigation on all controversies surrounding subsidy and under-recovery regime.
It also urged the NNPCL, in conjunction with some major international oil companies ( IOCs) in Nigeria, to form three different consortiums and build three refineries for stabilisation of the oil market and the nation’s economy generally.
The Senate has also mandated its Committee on Works, when constituted, to investigate the award of contracts for the rehabilitation of Aba-Ossisioma, Port Harcourt, and Umuahia-Ikot-Ekpene roads.
It specifically mandated the committee to investigate the level of funds released, utilisation and the level of work done so far.