Lawmakers and the need for accountability – businessday news you can trust businessday news you can trust gas usa


It is saddened to note that at such a time when everybody is canvassing for legislative and institutional framework and policies that will help boost the Nigeria’s socio-economic fortune, some committees saddled with the responsibilities of handling such all important national assignments seem unconcerned and complacent! A vivid example of such is the Ad-hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill which has outstanding three bills to handle. I expect that even if those on the side of the Executive do not see any reason for the needed reform in the oil and gas industry, the Parliament should take it more serious for the sake of over 190 million Nigerians. For those who benefit so much from the public fund, they should know that all the largesse come from the poorest Nigerians who earn less than N18,000 national minimum wage yet are compelled to pay taxes. For crying out loud, most graduates employed in most private schools earn less than N25,000 per month while lawmakers. Considering the percentage of Nigerian youths who are currently under-employed, one should appreciate how frustrating the economy is to such families! But for how long are we going to depend on such meagre funds accruing from taxes if such a bouyant public enterprise fail to function effectively?

To be specific, salaries and huge emoluments and other pecks of office including the quarterly constituency allowances being enjoyed by political office holders come majorly from taxes of the poorest in the system. One could imagine, several billions of naira worth of revenue and investments being lost daily in the oil and gas industry due to lack of effective legislative framework and policies. Of course, the oil and gas industry remains one of the most promising sector with high potential of employment. But as of today, Nigeria is getting little or nothing from the sector which has not added any value to us. But with such legislative and institutional frameworks and policies, Nigeria stands to unlock the huge potentials for not only this generation but those yet unborn. With the slow pace of things and knowing fully well that it is another election year, the three bills may also not be passed by the time the 8th Assembly winds down. Taking stock of the lawmakers in this Assembly, it is evident that some of them were part of the system since the sixth Assembly but only talked about it but never consider it as important to end the jinx!

Also during the week, the House Committee on Public Account during one of its sessions, engaged top officials of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the queries raised by the office of Auditor General of the Federation (AGF) bothering on non-submission of audited financial reports to the AGF as provided by its Act. It was a grievous infraction which could jeopardize the well-being of the entire country if such an institution does not comp!y with standard financial regulations, yet it’s been a yearly affair. According to the records, the need to screen the record of the Corporation from 2010 to 2017 is germane to the Auditor General. If the oil and gas industry in United Arab Emirate can function with such hi-tech facilities, what stops Nigeria from engaging the same experts to help out? But I guess we lack the tink-tank. We lack the vision, while every other nation is alive and advancing we enjoy sliding back to days of colonialism. We are still dependent and remain beggarly about everything! A country so blessed with human and natural resources, yet imports everything and emabrk on spiral borrowings while the little income are being filtered away to enrich other nations! What a shameful nation our leaders preside over!

But we can do something drastic to change the narrative if we really want to take this country our of the woods. I strongly believe, things can change and we can bring to fruition and learn from other progressive nations. I keep wondering whether all those privileged to tour developed countries learn from their successes. What makes it impossible for Nigerian leaders who go the way of the China and Malaysia in order to be part of the ongoing revolution? Why can’t our lawmakers do something different by forcing it down the throat of the Executive by ensuring that Ajaokuta works for the people? Nigeria will forever remain a laughing stock if this administration fail to get it right before the next general election! That is the true change we desire and deserve!

I recall the poser from one of the lawmakers who was part of the investigation into the multi billion naira spent on Turn Around Maintenance of the four refineries. He queried where NNPC which argued that there was no money to do stipulated two-year TAM, eventually gets money to pay trillions of naira as subsidy from? That tells us about those saddles with the responsibilities of managing our economy and lives! But we can change the narratives, we can get this country back from those who are hell-bent on frustrating Nigeria if only National Assembly is ready to live up to its responsibilities.