From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
House of Representatives, yesterday, expanded the scope of its Ad-hoc Committee probing the petroleum products subsidy regime to 2013.
The panel, inaugurated in June, was mandated to probe petroleum products subsidy regime from 2017- 2022. However, with its new mandate, the ad-hoc is also expected to investigate forex allocation from 2013 to date.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata, at yesterday’s plenary.
Fulata, in his motion, said while it was necessary for the panel to expand its scope, it cannot do so without the mandate of the House.
He said it was disturbing that between January to June 2022, the government had spent about N1.545 trillion on fuel subsidy.
“The current administration has adopted a policy known as Direct Sales Direct Purchase (DSDP)/Swap Arrangement whereby crude oil is swapped for equivalent refined petroleum products while the other bye-products from the refined crude oil are not accounted for.”
The lawmaker expressed concern “that most of the industry players claimed that they are not part of the DSDP arrangement within the periods of the committee’s mandate,” hence the need to expand the scope of the probe panel.
Meanwhile, the House has passed for second reading a bill seeking to bar the governor, deputy governors and directors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from joining political parties or engaging in partisan politics.
The bill sponsored by Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli, is seeking to alter section 11 of the CBN Act, 2007. It is entitled “A Bill for an Act to Amend Section 11 of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Act 2007 to add more conditions for disqualification and cessation of appointment as governor, deputy governor or director of the bank; and for related matters.”
Soli, in his lead debate, explained that the proposed legislation was intended to strengthen the principal Act, to make it stronger. He recalled that recently, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, went to court to seek for clarity on if he could participate in partisan politics.
“This amendment is no prejudice to anybody, but because the Act was tested and it was found weak, and therefore we need to strengthen the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as the lender of last resort, the bank of Federal Republic of Nigeria to restore its credibility from the shock it has suffered in the cause of interpreting the law, basically because of the absence of what I’m trying to amend.
“If members go through the small gazette of the law. Section 11 reads that a person shall not remain a governor, deputy governor or director of the bank if he is a member of any federal or state legislative house. A director, officer or employee of any bank and other financial institutions act, the governor, deputy governor and director shall cease to hold office in the bank if he is (a) incapable of carrying out his duties, (b) convicted of any criminal offence, (c) guilty of any serious misconduct in relation to his duties under this act, (d) disqualified from practicing his profession in Nigeria, (e) becomes bankrupt. Then (e) in the act becomes (g) to add in the principal act by inserting a section 11 (f) if he’s a member of a political party or a partisan, or involved in partisan politics.
“Why I am I doing this? Because there was a time CBN Governor went to court seeking for an interpretation whether he can participate on partisan politics. We need to address that.”