InfoStride News reported on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, that the Senate has given a 24-hour ultimatum to Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, to appear for the defense of the 2024 budget. Senator Adeola Olamilekan, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, conveyed this message, emphasizing the importance of Kyari’s presence.
This development is part of an ongoing dispute between the Senate and Kyari, as they aim to address the alleged N12 trillion expenditure on the turn around maintenance (TAM) of the country’s refineries. The Senate is adamant about holding Kyari and other top NNPC executives accountable, even considering their dismissal.
Olamilekan insisted that Kyari must appear alongside the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC). He cautioned that failure to comply would be perceived as undermining the legislative process and sabotaging the authority of the Senate.
One of the major concerns raised by Olamilekan relates to the 2024 budget. He emphasized that the two officials are required to present a comprehensive list of individual companies operating with OML licenses in Nigeria, along with the total daily production output approved. This information is crucial for assessing the revenues needed to support the 2024 budget.
The lawmaker highlighted that the NNPC, being government-owned and accountable to the Federal Government, plays a pivotal role in contributing to the revenue required for the budget. This responsibility extends to all three arms of the government.
This clash between the Senate and NNPC traces back to an incident about two weeks prior when the Senate summoned NNPC for the second time, investigating the N12 trillion expenditure on turn around maintenance of refineries between 2010 and 2023. Kyari’s absence during the inquiry stalled progress, prompting the Senate to threaten sacking and prosecuting the officials involved.
Several agencies, including NNPCL, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), and NUPRC, were invited to the inquiry. However, their chief executive officers failed to appear, sending representatives instead. The Senate committee threatened to take severe measures, including dismissal and legal action against these officials.
As this situation unfolds, the scrutiny on NNPC’s financial dealings and the quest for transparency in budgetary matters highlight the complex relationship between government bodies and the need for accountability in managing public funds. The outcome of this ongoing confrontation will likely shape the future interactions between the Senate and NNPC, influencing the dynamics of budgetary oversight and regulatory compliance in the country.
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