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House of Reps rejects call for suspension of new fuel price



THE House of Representatives, on Wednesday, July 19, rejected a motion calling for the reversal of the hike in fuel pump price.

The motion, sponsored by a member, Ikenga Ugochinyere, demanded that the pump price revert to the old price of N537 per litre.

The motion did not succeed and the House instead resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to look into the continued increase in fuel pump prices.

The House said that ordering the suspension of the price rise would amount to preempting the work of the investigating committee because it had already decided to look into the hike.

The House requested that its committee provide recommendations for implementing palliative actions to lessen suffering in the country.

The motion of urgent public importance, presented to the House by Ugochinyere, was titled ‘The need to investigate the incessant increase in fuel pump price’.

The House asked the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) Mele Kyari and oil marketers to appear before the ad hoc committee to explain the increase.

In order to lessen the impact of the elimination of subsidies, the ad hoc committee is also looking for ways to guarantee the effective distribution of palliatives to Nigerians.

According to Ugochinyere, the National Assembly is given the right to investigate the operations of any authority responsible for carrying out or overseeing laws passed by the National Assembly under sections 88(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended).

He added that the Petroleum Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority oversees and regulates technical and commercial midstream and downstream petroleum operations in Nigeria under Section 32 of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.

Ugochinyere noted that the incessant fuel price hike has caused hardship for Nigerians.

“Mr Speaker, this is the people’s House, and we represent the Nigeria people; very soon, with the way things are going, fuel will be sold for 1,000 per litre.

“On Tuesday, 18th July 2023, petrol pump price was increased from N537 to N617 by petrol marketers without conferring with the relevant government agencies.

“In view of the current socio-economic challenges being faced by Nigerians, a hike in the price of fuel will heap great suffering and hardship on Nigerians,” Ugochinyere stated.

He added that the high cost of transportation will cause food prices to rise in the near future, emphasising how the increase will cause the public great pain.

He expressed worry that a rise in fuel prices will cause tremendous sorrow and hardship for Nigerians, given their existing socio-economic woes.

Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu, who presided over the House, put to a vote an amendment made by another legislator asking the House to direct the NNPCL to suspend the new pump price of N617 and restore the old price of N540, but the lawmakers unanimously rejected the motion by shouting “Nay”.

Kalu said the amendment would not be adopted because no one wanted to influence the direction of the ad hoc committee’s probe.

The House, however, decided to summon Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of NNPCL, to inquire about the ongoing increases in fuel co.

The Committee was given four weeks to conclude its inquiry and submit a report to the House for additional legislative action.

It was reported on Tuesday, July 18, that the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) issued a warning to the Federal Government over the hike in the petrol pump price.

NLC, in a statement by its President, Joe Ajaero, rejected the new pump price, describing it as provocative.

Also, in another report, industry analysts gave reasons why petrol prices will keep rising.

According to them, the pump price will continue to rise till the naira attains measurable stability against the dollar.

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