By EricJames Ochigbo
The Joint National Assembly Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream, Downstream, Gas) has decried the 2024 budget of the Ministry of Petroleum, saying it for lacks the capacity to meet Nigerians expectations.
Sen. Agom Jarigbe, the Chairman of the committee, said this at a budget defence a session in Abuja on Monday, saying that Tinubu promised to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians
by introducing pallatives to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal.
He said that the president also committed to building training workshops and to provide Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Conversion Kits, to advance the Natural Gas Revolution Policy of Nigeria.
“The Joint-Committee observes with utter dismay, the non-provision of those Projects and Palliatives in the 2024 Appropriations Bill, which has been made available to the Joint-Committee.
“The Budget of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is neither here nor there. It does not reflect the Policy direction of Mr. President on the Decade of Gas and the use of Compressed Natural Gas, as an alternative source of fuel.
“A Capital Budget of 5.8Bn for a Ministry that is critical to achieving the Natural Gas Revolution Policy of the Federal Government and ameliorating the hardship imposed on the Masses, smacks of unseriousness,” he said.
Jarigbe said that the Steering Committee on the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas – Initiative had also refused to brief the National Assembly on its activities and programmes.
“Their activities are shrouded in secrecy and the Ministers of State, Petroleum Resources (Oil & Gas) are totally in the dark, as to the activities as well.
“As a parliament, we do not align ourselves with running government programmes in disregards of the provisions of the Law.
“We cannot achieve what Mr. President wants, without providing for the CNG-Project and other very important projects in the 2024 Appropriations Act.
“Doing so will only open a window for fraud, which will impact negatively on the citizenry. Let it be on record also that the steering committee cannot account for the funds already provided from the N500 billion approved for palliatives for the purpose of CNG advancement in the country,” he said.
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Petroleum (Gas) Mr Ekperikpe Ekpo said that N9.64 billion was allocated to the ministry out of which N1.62 million was for personnel cost, N4.3 billion for overhead cost and N3.18 billion for capital expenditure. (NAN)