Members of Nigeria’s House of Representatives at a plenary. PHOTO: TWITTER/ HOUSE OF REPS NGR
• Probe ‘abuse’ of expatriate quota by telcos
• Urge action against capital flight House of Representatives, yesterday, demanded review of modular refinery licenses issued to indigenous firms in the country. Adopting a motion sponsored by Mr. Alex Egbona at the plenary presided over by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, the House urged Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to review the status of each of the licences, revoke and re-issue them to competent and reliable operators.
The lawmakers also urged NNPC to give technical assistance to those who have started construction work to enable them commence operation to meet the demand of Nigerians.
The Lower Chamber thereby mandated its Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream) to ensure implementation of the directives.
Egbona, while justifying the call for review of the licenses, claimed that of the 38 issued, only two have been reported to be active in terms of building modular refineries that are now at advanced stages of completion.
The lawmaker recalled that the approval for setting up of modular refineries was to prepare grounds for full deregulation of the downstream sector and to checkmate incessant cases of crude oil theft and piracy in the oil-producing communities and the high seas.
To him, the essence of issuing the licenses have been defeated as the beneficiaries have not been able to put them to proper use, by refining petroleum products for local consumption and export.
ALSO, yesterday, the House ordered immediate probe of alleged abuse of expatriate quota by telecommunications equipment vendors and service providers in the country.
Adopting a motion sponsored by Mr. Bello Shinkafi at the plenary presided over by Gbajabiamila, the House mandated its Committees on Telecommunications and Interior to conduct the probe and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.
Shinkafi, while moving the motion, argued that the abuse of expatriate quota by foreign companies constituted a threat to national security in view of the appalling level of youth unemployment in the country. He wondered why the abuse was prevalent in the telecommunications sector where there is sufficient local manpower.
The lawmaker said it was unfortunate that expatriates enjoy unimaginable pay and privileges while their Nigerian counterparts are paid less and treated with disdain in the country.
THE House also urged the authorities to develop effective mechanisms and strategies to curb capital flight in Nigeria.
Adopting a motion sponsored by Mr. Afolabi Olalekan, the House called on the authorities to partner with private institutions to build world-class medical facilities in major cities in Nigeria or upgrade and equip the existing ones with adequate facilities based on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement that will allow the investors to manage the hospitals for an agreed period.
The House thereby mandated its Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure implementation. Olalekan, while moving the motion, noted that capital flight remains one of the unresolved and persistent macroeconomic problems plaguing the nation for over four decades.