Reps to probe hike in pump price of petrol, reject calls for reversal

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The house of representatives has resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the increment of the petrol pump price.

 

The committee will also propose palliative measures to be taken by the federal government to cushion the effect of the petrol subsidy removal.

 

The lower legislative chamber passed the resolution during the plenary session on Wednesday following the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Ugochinyere Ikeagwuonu, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member from Imo.

 

Oil marketers had on Tuesday increased the pump price of petrol at retail outlets from N537 to N617 per litre in Abuja and N568 per litre in Lagos.

 

The development comes just weeks after the complete deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector.

 

Deregulation is the elimination or removal of government controls over a sector, allowing market forces to determine the prices of products.

 

On May 29, President Bola Tinubu announced that the “petrol subsidy is gone” — a pronouncement which immediately led to a hike in the pump price of the product across the country.

 

While moving the motion, Ikeagwuonu said that section 88 (1) and (2) of the constitution empowers the national assembly to investigate the activities of any authority executing or administering laws passed by the parliament.

 

He said that section 32 of the petroleum industry act, 2021 saddles the Petroleum Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority with the task of regulating and monitoring technical and commercial midstream and downstream petroleum operations in Nigeria.

 

The legislator said the pump price was increased by petrol marketers “without conferring with the relevant agencies of government”.

 

“Given the current socio-economic challenges being faced by Nigerians, a hike in the price of fuel will heap great suffering and hardship on Nigerians,” he said.

 

While contributing to the debate, Zakaria Nyampa, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Adamawa, proposed that the house should ask oil marketers to revert to the old price pending the outcome of the investigation.

 

However, his proposal was rejected by the lawmakers when it was put to a voice vote by Benjamin Kalu, the deputy speaker and presiding officer.

 

The substantive motion was voted for when Kalu subjected it to a vote.

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