THE House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources, says it plans to conduct a comprehensive audit of the subsidy regime of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to ensure energy security and transparency.
The Chairman of the committee, Ikeagwuonu Ugochinyere, said this at the committee’s inauguration in Abuja on November 3.
He said the committee’s legislative priorities included ensuring energy security, enhancing professionalism in the petroleum sector and driving economic transformation. Others, he said, included fostering accountability, institutional reforms, and focusing on revenue recovery and generation.
‘‘The committee’s specific objective is to assist the Federal Government in recovering the 20 billion dollars in revenue lost in the sector.
He said the committee would also prioritise early remittance of federal revenues and the recovery of unremitted funds in the coming days.
Ugochinyere emphasised the importance of addressing the challenges faced by Nigerians due to the removal of the subsidy on petrol.
He said the committee also plans to probe the subsidy beneficiaries, scrutinise loan transactions and pre-export financing arrangements, and to review loans related to crude oil.
The lawmaker said the committee would examine the direct sales, direct purchase method, which he said involved using crude for importing refined petrol and other associated value chains.He said the committee would collaborate with other relevant committees in the upstream, mainstream, gas, and petroleum training fund sectors to achieve its objectives.
Recall, on Tuesday,October 31,the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, (NEITI), informed the House of Representatives in a report that $74.3 billion was spent on subsidiee by successive government since 2011.
Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, the Executive Secretary of NEITI in the report said the agency also uncovered over $8.3bn unremitted revenue by some privately-owned oil companies and Federal Government-owned agencies, which was not paid into the Federation Account contrary to extant financial regulations.
Ugochinyere said, there is need to promote transparency and accountability in the sector to grow investors confidence, now the government has commenced gradual implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Ugochinyere said that the committee would also address the issue of NNPCL being the primary petrol importer, contrary to the PIA’s vision of diverse downstream operators.
He said the committee would address the challenges related to domestic crude supply for modular refineries and local refineries, which is a constitutional provision under the PIA.
‘’The committee will also ensure adequate supply of domestic crude to achieve energy security,’’ he said.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.