Finance Minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and five other ministers on Tuesday shunned an investigative hearing into the implementation of the Federal Government’s Subsidy Re-Investment Programme by the House of Representatives.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, also failed to turn up at the hearing by the Joint House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) /Finance/ States and Local Governments.
Other ministers, who shunned the event were the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke; Minister of Transportation, Mr. Abdullahi Umar; Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu; Minister of Niger Delta, Mr. Godsday Orubebe; and Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Emeka Worgu.
The House had passed a resolution late last year directing the committee to investigate the level of implementation of SURE-P, which it said had not impacted on Nigerians after government allegedly spent “billions of naira already on implementation.”
The House had noted that in most states and local governments in the country, the programme had not taken off till date.
But, on Tuesday, the ministers in charge of key Ministries, Departments and Agencies responsible for the implementation of the programme did not honour the committee’s investigation.
The development drew the ire of the lead Chairman of the session, Mr. Dakuku Peterside, who accused the ministers of deliberately working to stall the investigation.
“This is a deliberate decision of the ministers not to honour the invitation of the House,” he said.
Although, some agencies announced representations, the committee disallowed them from making any submissions.
The lawmakers insisted that it was impossible to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the ministers because the representatives of some agencies were likely to say they were not empowered to answer all the questions of the committee.
The committee was forced to postpone the hearing till February 12.