3 Important Questions Senate Should Be Asking Kachikwu, Baru Today
So, the people President Muhammad Buhari put in charge of Nigeria’s petroleum resources - Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu and Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru - shall be answering questions before lawmakers today at the National Assembly.
This borders on several issues around the fuel crisis and purported return of subsidy payment on fuel importation.
Since buck passing has formed the major defence of the energy sector managers and the petrol marketers, it is not clear yet if Baru and Kachikwu will be singing the same or discordant tune during the hearing.
In the meantime, here are three questions the senate may be asking the chief executives to unravel the cause of the crisis.
1. What Exactly Caused the Fuel Crisis? Until today, Nigerians have yet to understand why there is fuel scarcity. The people in charge have only passed the buck.
While NNPC insisted it had more than enough petrol to sustain Nigeria past the yuletide, the marketers said the corporation had been unable to supply enough of the commodity for them to sell.
NNPC had blamed the marketers for hoarding the commodity in order to maximise profit. While there had been instances of marketers who hoarded the product in order to sell at high prices, even NNPC’s mega stations and its franchise which would not have hoarded the product had had no products to dispense.
Perhaps, before the senate today when the marketers and the NNPC will come face to face, Nigerians may be able to hear the truth.
2. Has Fuel Subsidy Truly Returned? On Tuesday, an Abuja based journalist and Energy Anaylst, Michael Eboh told Bounce News that fuel subsidy had since made a come back to Nigeria’s energy lexicon, two years after Nigerians had thought it had gone for good.
According to Eboh, “NNPC had been the one taking money from its books to pay for the extra cost of importing petroleum products” without any appropriation from the government and approval by the National Assembly.
This came to light after the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru disclosed in December that the corporation – which had become the sole supplier of petrol into the country – had been paying extra 26-naira on each litre of the product.
Baru had said that the landing cost of petrol in the country is 171 naira per litre and with a pump price at 145 naira, that automatically leaves a gap of 26-naira which NNPC had been paying.
So, today at the investigative hearing, Baru will be explaining to the lawmakers if fuel subsidy is indeed back and how it is funded.
3. What Is the Way Forward? Perhaps in the interest of Nigeria, the senate will be seeking to know how the managers plan to end the fuel crisis and make sure it does not happen again.
This could end the round of buck passing and compel Baru and Kachikwu to assume responsibility and bring the scarcity to an end.
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