Nigerian Senate Set Up Panel To Investigate Oil Theft, Approves Revised Budget For 2022
Following public outrage against the massive stealing of Nigeria’s crude oil, which had seen the country lose huge earnings as well as hobbled its ability to meet the quota allocated by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, yesterday constituted a 13-member Adhoc Committee to investigate oil theft in Nigeria and its impact on petroleum production and oil revenues.
The composition of the panel was announced on the floor at the plenary.
Lawan named Senator Bassey Albert Akpan as Chairman of the Committee.
Other members on the panel include Senators Yusuf A. Yusuf, Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, Kabiru Gaya, Mohammed Adamu Aliero, George Thompson Sekibo, and Gabriel Suswam.
The panel also included Senators Kashim Shettima, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Ali Ndume, Stella Oduah, Sani Musa, and Ibrahim Gobir.
The Adhoc committee was given one month to conclude work on investigations and report back to the chamber in plenary.
Also yesterday, the Senate approved a revised budget of ₦17,319,704,091,019 trillion for the 2022 fiscal year.
Also, the Senate approved the total sum of N4 trillion for petrol subsidy in 2022. The figure represented the amount contained in two separate requests by the President to the National Assembly for approval.
The president had in a letter to the legislature dated 10th February 2022, sought an additional ₦2.557 trillion to fund subsidy payments from July to December 2022.
He had disclosed that 138 of the 254 projects in the budget totaling ₦13.24 billion had been identified for deletion.
The National Assembly in December 2021, had approved the sum of ₦442.7 billion for subsidy in the 2022 budget for the period of January to June this year.
Buhari, however, anchored his fresh request on the fact that petrol subsidy was not duly appropriated for in the national budget beyond June.
According to him, the development was a result of the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act which stops all such payments past the given June deadline.
In another letter dated 12th April 2022, Buhari had requested the National Assembly to approve an additional ₦1 trillion to his earlier ₦2.557 subsidy request to bring the total amount on payments to ₦4 trillion for the year 2022.
The approval came with the passage of a bill to amend the 2022 Appropriations Act transmitted to the National Assembly on 10th February 2022, by President Muhammadu Buhari for consideration.
The Senate in December 2021, had passed a budget of ₦17,126,873,917,692 trillion.
The revised sum of ₦17.3 trillion in contrast with the 2022 budget of ₦17.13 trillion passed last year, represented a ₦193 billion increase.
The passage of the Appropriations Act, 2022 (Amendment) Bill, followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Appropriations.
The figure represented an increase of ₦192.5 billion from the ₦17.1 trillion approved and assented to last December.
The passage followed the consideration of a report by the Appropriation Committee on the 2022 Appropriations Bill in both chambers.
The nation’s parliament increased its annual budget by ₦12 billion. It was ₦139 billion in the 2022 budget but has now increased to ₦153 billion in the revised version, approved yesterday.
A critical analysis of the revised budget showed that there was no increment in the capital vote of ₦5.415 trillion
The increment affected only the recurrent expenditure.
Out of the total sum of ₦17,319,704,091,019 trillion passed, ₦817,699,410,210 billion is for Statutory Transfers; ₦3,978,087,110,437 trillion for Debt Service; ₦7,108,621,131,849 trillion for Recurrent (Non-Debt Expenditure); and ₦5,415,296,438,523 trillion for Contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure.
He explained that the additional request was against the backdrop of adjustments to the 2022 fiscal framework which became imperative due to market developments occasioned by the spike in crude prices, following the Russian-Ukrainian war.
The chamber, accordingly, approved the President’s request for an additional ₦3.557 trillion for PMS subsidy with the passage of the 2022 Appropriations Act (Amendment) Bill, Thursday.
It also approved the ₦192.52 billion aggregate increase sought by the executive, and an additional provision of ₦182.45 billion to cater for the needs of the Nigerian Police Force to enhance their morale.
The Senate, after passing the 2022 Appropriations Act (Amendment) Bill, adjourned till the 26th of April, 2021.
The Senate had before the approval, considered the report of its Committee on Finance on the Medium Term Expenditure and Fiscal Strategy Paper, laid by the Chairman, Senator Olamilekan Adeola.
The red chamber, in the MTEF/FSP, approved an oil benchmark of $73 per barrel as proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It also approved an oil production volume of 1,600m per day.
The chamber gave its nod for an additional provision of ₦182.4 billion to cater for the needs of the Nigeria Police Force.
It approved debt service provision of ₦76.13 billion and net reductions in Statutory Transfers by ₦66.07 billion.