Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Senate Committee on Gas Resources on Tuesday rejected the sum of N200 million allocation demanded by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources in the 2016 Budget for the treatment of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The Committee also rejected request for allocation of additional N200 million for the review of the Nigeria Gas Master Plan.
The Ministry, while defending its 2016 Budget before the Committee, had said it needed N200 million for the passage of the PIB in the National Assembly.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Jamila Shuaru, while making presentation at the Committee’s sitting, insisted that the amount was needed for the treatment of the PIB.
But Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, Chairman of the Committee, backed by his members, said the allocation was not necessary because.
Akpan added that the bill is already with the National Assembly.
“This Bill is already with the National Assembly. So, what do we need the money for? I don’t think you need the money. This could be one of the reasons why we have so much deficit in this year’s Budget. Unless you can justify this expenditure, we need to do away with this,” Akpan said.
The Committee members, who spoke at the meeting, concurred with their Chairman that except the Bill did not need additional funding for it to be passed.
The Committee also disagreed with the Ministry officials over the N200 million proposed in the 2016 Budget for the review of the Nigerian Gas Master Plan.
The Committee discovered that funding request for the plan had been a recurring figure in previous budgets.
“You cannot be asking for funds to review what you have not even implemented,” Akpan said.
He added that the only problem with PIB was that there was no law backing it up.
Briefing the Committee further, Shuaru said that Nigeria could not meet her gas need because many exigencies worked against the success of the programme.
One of the exigencies, she said, was the $8 billion court judgement procured against the Ministry by an investor, who she could not mention.