The investigation into the oil subsidy and under-recovery scheme run by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was launched by the Senate on Tuesday.
The N9.3 trillion that Buhari spent on the subsidy system between January 2021 and June 2023 was severely criticised.
The Senate also calls for the establishment of three operational refineries for the local production and distribution of refined oil in an effort to reduce the pump price from N540 per litre to between N300 and N350 per litre as a way of mitigating the effects of subsidy removal.
The resolutions followed a motion that Chiwuba Ndubueze had supported.
Ndubueze said 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),” that while President Bola Tinubu’s decision to withdraw subsidies in May was commendable, the regime itself needed to be looked into.
He argued specifically that while the Federal Government, through NNPCL, claimed N170 billion in under-recovery over the course of ten years (from 2006 to 2015), it spent 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 asked the NNPCL to organise three distinct consortiums and construct three refineries in order to stabilise the oil market and the country’s economy as a whole, along with some significant international oil corporations (IOCs) in Nigeria.
When it is formed, the Senate’s Committee on Works will also be tasked with looking into the contracts awarded for the repair of the Aba-Ossisioma, Port Harcourt, and Umuahia-Ikot-Ekpene highways.
It gave the committee a clear mandate to look into how much money had been released, how it had been used, and how much work had been accomplished thus far.