The Senate has denied claims by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, that the National Assembly is responsible for the delay in the payment of debts owed oil marketers by the Federal Government.
Specifically, the upper legislative chamber said there is no pending Executive request to approve a loan for the payment of oil marketers.
In a statement on Wednesday night, Senate Spokesperson, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, wondered why the Executive arm of government would resort to buck passing rather than work with the Legislature to resolve the issue of lingering fuel scarcity.
According to him, this was the reason why members of the Committee on Petroleum Downstream suspended their recess and embarked on oversight visits.
The panel is scheduled to hold an investigative public hearing on Thursday with all stakeholders aimed at finding a lasting solution to the issue.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Senate has been drawn to a claim said to have been made by the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, during a meeting with stakeholders in the oil industry on the perrenial fuel scarcity in the country to the effect that the payment of debt owed to oil marketters was being delayed because the National Assembly has not approved request presented to the legislature for loan meant for that purpose.
“The Senate would want members of the public to know that no such request has been made to it specifically requesting for loan meant for payment to oil marketers.
“The Senate is aware that subsidy on petroleum had been cancelled by this administration; so we wonder which payment we are talking about now.
“Senators have been inundated with calls from oil marketers who were present at the meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President on the issue and thus, we call on Mallam Kyari to either prove his claim or retract it.
“It should be noted that a similar claim was made by the Minister of Finance on the foreign loan at a time the Presidency had not forwarded the request. The letter requesting for the foreign loan was submitted long after she was confronted with the fact.
“It is the opinion of the Senate that instead of resorting to false claims and shifting blames in the mould of ‘ Blame Someone Else’, both the executive and legislature should work together to solve this unecessary fuel crisis which is making life more difficult for our people”.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja