Sunday, February 12, 2012

Subsidy probe ends with doubt over implementation of outcome

Premium Times
9 February 2012

Farouk Lawan

House probe on subsidy payment ends amidst fears that the resulting report/recommendations might not be implementation
After three weeks of sittings that laid bare several frontiers of abuses that cost the nation’s petroleum sector trillions of naira, the House of Representatives public hearings on subsidy management ended Thursday.
But as with past inquiries, even the investigators-the lawmakers- seem more distrustful of the exercise that has consumed millions in daily allowances, consultancy fees, and organisation, will be any different, and maybe decisive.
As the exercise drew down this time, the ad hoc committee chairman, Farouk Lawan, reechoed the unwritten rhetoric that has been symptomatic of previous investigations and their subsequent reports-“praying and hoping” the recommendations are applied.

“Some of the reports will need the executive to act, some will require the legislature to do some work and even the judiciary may be required to work on some,” he said.

“We hope and pray the relevant agencies of government implement some of these reports.”

The report is expected in weeks, Mr. Lawan said, since a key element of its recommendations, should cover petrol subsidy appropriation in the 2012 budget expected to be passed by the national assembly before the end of February.
And like the many others in the past, despite the grave abuses that have been uncovered, there are no guarantees the recommendations will be approved by the general house, much less, enforced by the other arms of government involved, lawmakers said.

More importantly, there may be no prosecution for the long list of accounts of clear and brazen shortchanging the sector recorded under the subsidy regime, cutting across petroleum sector officials, finance ministry, marketers and importers and the even other top government offices.

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