The House of Representatives on Thursday stopped the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) from going ahead with its plans to expend $1.8 billion on the turn around maintenance (TAM) of the nation’s four refineries.
The Chairman of the House adhoc committee, Mr. Garba Datti Mohammed, explained that this is to enable his committee conclude its work on the veracity of the TAM.
Mohammed who briefed reporters assured that the House is keen on proffering a lasting solution to the epileptic supply of petroleum products in the country.
Calling for the support of stakeholders in the petroleum industry, he disclosed that the Minister of State, Petroleum resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has been duly informed of the House position.
Mohammed noted that it was unfortunate that Nigerians have been subjected to suffer the harrowing problems associated with fuel scarcity despite the huge monies expended on the TAM of the nation’s refineries over the years.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said it would support the deregulation of the downstream sector when the existing refineries work and new ones are built.
Speaking Thursday in Abuja on the activities lined up to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the NLC, Deputy President of NLC, Peters Adeyemi, accused government of laziness and always raising petrol prices when it needs cheap money to fund projects.
Also, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara on Thursday pushed for a reduction of interest rates on loans to Nigerian entrepreneurs.
At a briefing on Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP) by the Federal Government’s economic team led by the Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, at the National Assembly, said this is to curtail the over reliance of the nation’s economy on investors from other countries.
He said it was a source of concern that the country has to source funds from foreigners to push national projects and create job opportunities is undesirable.
His words: “Granted the way the Nigerian economy is structured and organised, is it possible for people who have investible ideas to have access to funds to be able to invest, or do we continue to rely on monies flowing in from other jurisdictions to our country?’’
‘The cost of funds in Nigeria is too high. What can we do about this? Honestly speaking, if the young people who are leaving university each year will be able to access funds at single digits, some of them may not even bother about the jobs that we are talking about.
“They will be able to pursue ideas and dreams that they have and those dreams may lead to generation of the jobs that others are seeking.
“I have said this over and over again, what is it that we can do as a government to bring down interest rates in this country so that people can access these funds and develop the economy? I do not know where we are going to get $404 billion from, for instance, in Nigeria, I don’t know where.
“ I don’t even know if we can raise $12 billion from private sector in this country, except we rely on outsiders. But the point is that we should dominate the space ourselves and the only way we can do that is to bring down interest rates.
“I do not know how we can escalate this discussion or in what manner we can achieve this, but it is something we cannot run away from.”