Senate on Wednesday set machinery in motion to investigate Minister of State for Petroleum and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) over irregularities being perpetrated concerning ongoing lease renewal process which is capable of denying government revenue in excess of $10 billion. Already,The Senate has mandated its committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream to investigate all issues relating to ongoing lease renewal.
The decision was sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Tayo Alasoadura who accused Kachukwu and DPR of proceeding to renew leases of companies that have brazenly and illegally refused to pay royalties due to government from oil and gas lifted by the said companies in contravention of extant laws. He noted that the Minister for Petroleum Resources is granting all manner of illegal discount and rebates in the process of the ongoing renewal of the lease. He lamented that the action of Minister is capable of
Short-changing the country and denying the federation the appropriate revenue accruable of the lease. He said, “The irregularities being perpetrated by the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Department of Petroleum Resources in the ongoing lease renewal process is capable of denying government revenue in excess of $10 Billion as a result of illegal discounts and rebates in the process of lease renewal.
“The Department of Petroleum Resources has willfully and deliberately refused to provide the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream with relevant information and data related to the ongoing lease renewal.”Supporting the motion,
Senator Shehu Sani said that the issue of the lease is something that has been in the front burner for a week now. If we get to the bottom of this matter, it could open a whole can of worms on this matter.
He added that there have been series of motions related to this issue and i think further investigation is required. While backing the motion, Senator Umaru Kurfi said, “We cannot be seen folding our arms on this issue. We have to take deliberate steps to end these discrepancies and call in the Minister of State for Petroleum for further investigation.”
In his remarks after exhaustive debate on the motion, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said, “It is in our oversight to ensure there’s transparency in the management of oil & gas agencies, and I believe that we can achieve that, we should be able to do what is possible in the circumstance to ensure that there’s transparency in this present exercise. “One of our major problems is the issue of enforcement and regulations because we have unchanged rules to guide us in almost all sectors.
“I just want to appeal to the regulating agencies and enforcement agencies to wake up to their responsibilities in how to ensure that rule of law including enforcement of existing laws to ensure the right things are being done.”
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