Petroleum Ministry’s 2024 Budget Cannot Meet Nigerians’ Expectations — Lawmakers

Hon. Amobi Ogah lends his voice in viral video.


The Joint National Assembly Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream, Downstream, Gas) has expressed disappointment over the 2024 budget of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, stating that it falls short in meeting Nigerians’ expectations.

Senator Agom Jarigbe, Chairman of the committee, made these remarks during a budget defense session in Abuja on Monday.

He said that the budget did not sufficiently address President Tinubu’s commitments to alleviate the impact of fuel subsidy removal by introducing palliatives.

Jarigbe noted that President Bola Tinubu pledged to initiate projects such as building training workshops and providing Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Conversion Kits to support Nigeria’s Natural Gas Revolution Policy.

He criticized the allocation of 5.8 billion Naira as the capital budget for a ministry crucial to achieving the Natural Gas Revolution Policy and easing the hardships faced by the masses, describing it as inadequate and unserious.

He said, “The joint-committee observes with utter dismay, the non-provision of those projects and palliatives in the 2024 Appropriation Bill, which has been made available to the joint-committee.

“The budget of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is neither here nor there. It does not reflect the policy direction of Mr. President on the Decade of Gas and the use of Compressed Natural Gas, as an alternative source of fuel.

“A capital budget of N5.8bn for a ministry that is critical to achieving the Natural Gas Revolution Policy of the Federal Government and ameliorating the hardship imposed on the Masses, smacks of unseriousness.”

Jarigbe further raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the activities of the Steering Committee on the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative. He highlighted that the committee had failed to brief the National Assembly on its programmes, operating with secrecy, and leaving the Ministers of State for Petroleum Resources uninformed about its activities.

He stressed the importance of aligning government programs with the provisions of the law and emphasized that neglecting vital projects in the budget might lead to fraudulent activities that would adversely affect citizens.

Additionally, the committee expressed doubts about the accountability of funds allocated for CNG advancement in the country, citing the inability of the steering committee to justify the funds received from the approved N500 billion for palliatives.

“Their activities are shrouded in secrecy and the Ministers of State, Petroleum Resources (Oil & Gas) are totally in the dark, as to the activities as well.

“As a parliament, we do not align ourselves with running government programmes in disregards of the provisions of the Law.

“We cannot achieve what Mr. President wants, without providing for the CNG-Project and other very important projects in the 2024 Appropriations Act.

“Doing so will only open a window for fraud, which will impact negatively on the citizenry. Let it be on record also that the steering committee cannot account for the funds already provided from the N500 billion approved for palliatives for the purpose of CNG advancement in the country,” he said.

In response, Mr. Ekperikpe Ekpo, the Minister of State for Petroleum (Gas), revealed that the ministry received an allocation of N9.64 billion for 2024, with breakdowns for personnel, overhead costs, and capital expenditure.