The senate yesterday resolved to investigate the operations of the fuel subsidy scheme even as senators were sharply divided over whether the controversial fuel subsidy should remain or not.
After a heated debate on the subsidy scheme, the senate mandated its committee on Petroleum Resources (downstream Sector), Appropriation and Finance to investigate the scheme.
In the purview of the probe, the Ministry of Petroleum, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the Petroleum Product Price Regulatory Agency (PPPRA)and other agencies are detailed to provide explanations on the management of the fuel subsidy scheme.
This comes as the Senate president, David Mark, adduced the failure of the fuel subsidy to its hijack by a cartel. He lamented that 90 percent of Nigerians are not beneficiaries of the subsidy.
The resolution to probe the operation of the fuel subsidy followed a motion sponsored by Senator Abubakar Saraki (PDP) and 13 others which sought to launch an investigation into the current fuel subsidy management.
Leading the debate, however, Sen. Saraki, who argued that the removal of fuel subsidy should be based on informed decision, stated that the implementation of the 2011 Appropriation Act will surely be in troubled waters if a variation of N1.2trn arises as a result of the level of expenditure incurred on fuel subsidy so far.
However, while all the senators welcomed the motion, some contended that the crux of the motion dwelt on failure of subsidy scheme and as such it should be removed. Others maintained that fuel subsidy should remain, emphasising rather the need to ensure transparency and stem the constitutional breaches as regards the management of the scheme.
Presiding over the debate, Mark said my personal believe is that there is a cartel and whatever they do like most of you know with the mafia, is exclusive to them. 90 percent of us are not in that circle. There is need to open it up.”
Meanwhile, the face-off between the Federal Government and Organized Labour further deepens with the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Abdulwaheed Omar, yesterday denying reaching any treaty with the Federal Government over the proposal to remove subsidy on petrol.
Omar stated this in Benin City yesterday when he led the leadership of the Congress on a courtesy visit to the Oba of Benin. He said they were in the state for the National Administrative Council meeting of the NLC.
At the palace, he appealed to Oba Erediuwa to intervene on the issue by calling on the federal government to stop the intention of removing the subsidy as he said that would bring more hardship to Nigerians.
The Oba of Benin, on his part, thanked the labour leaders for their visit adding that the NLC has by example showed its capability.
He said, “I can remember that the last time you were in Edo, it was with the governor (Adams Oshiomhole), who then was your president. Since then, he (Oshiomhole) has gone on to what he is today, and he has transformed the state, the rest all of you can see.”