Why FG Has Not Paid N413bn Oil Subsidy – Kachikwu

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday justified the delay in the payment of N413 billion oil subsidy promised marketers two weeks ago. The minister, who addressed the heads of parastatals and directors of the ministry in Abuja after assuming office, stated that the payment has not been effected because the approval of the National Assembly is needed.

He, however, gave the assurance that the payment processes will be perfected in a matter of a week. Kachikwu said: “The money was approved by the president. It has not reached them physically because there is a process that our constitution requires in terms of approving those set of (extra-budgetary) expenditures. “The president is taking time to write the Assembly to appraise them of need to do this. Do we want to pay, yes! Have we provided for the money, yes! Do we need approval from outside the executive to recommend that, yes!

It is going through a process.” The minister, however, stated that there is enough fuel supply. He said: “As of today, we have product both onshore and offshore that will last about 22/23 days.

The number of trucks that has been moved around the country is in excess of 4,000 trucks as against the normal 2500 utilisation. “Product is not the issue, what is the issue is the usual panic buying by Nigerians.”

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Speaking on the expectations of President Muhammadu Buhari from the ministers, he said: “The president is concerned about change in the perception about the ministry and other key substantial deliverables including cutting cost, growing income streams and helping the federation stabilise.”

To the heads of parastatals, he said: “I will imagine that in the first couple of months we would let the Managing Directors of various parastatals work with us to understand what the agenda for this administration is.

Quickly, we will also sit down and see whether they are in a capacity to deliver those results. I am not saying I am going to change people but we will absolutely require you to show an ability to deliver the sort of change mantra that we are looking for.”

Kachikwu also revealed that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) issue would be revisited. Kachiwkwu said the ministry would focus on boosting revenue generation through the discovery of more oil and gas in the country.

He said that part of his mission was to cut costs, block leakages while promoting transparency and accountability in the business of the ministry. He said it was important for all stakeholders in the ministry to devise new ways of doing things, given the vantage position of the ministry as a major source of revenue to the federation. According to him, it is necessary to think of new ways of doing business, given the dwindling nature of revenues accrued to the nation.

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“Our policy direction is to find more money, find more oil, find more gas, monetise them and put money in the hands of the government.

“We have dwindling resources and yet the whole nation depends on this ministry to provide the resources. “So we must be able to put on the cap on how do we cut cost; how do we improve on earnings; how do we make Federation Account to improve? “How do we put controls that are essential to avoid leakages; how do we develop new income strings?

“How do we develop new investments to help the federation stabilise; those are very key and that is where we are heading to.” Kachikwu, who also doubles as the Group Managing Director of NNPC, noted that the proposed work in the ministry would change the way and manner things were done in the past. He said it was important for the leadership of the ministry in all areas to key into the change mantra of the present administration.