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Minister denies awarding contracts to indicted firms

26 July 2013, 10:22

Abuja- The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, on Thursday denied that some companies indicted by the House of Representatives over fuel subsidy scam were awarded new contracts to import fuel.

Alison-Madueke spoke with State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

According to her, there is no way the companies indicted will have been patronised by the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Authority (PPRA).

The minister said that all successful companies penciled down for the importation of fuel were thoroughly screened before selection.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Alison-Madueke was in the villa to attend the meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

"All companies were vetted carefully and only companies that were cleared were put on the list,’’ she said.

Speaking on the Petroleum Industry Bill before the National Assembly, Alison-Madueke said the progress made in its passage was in tandem with the expectations of the executive.

"As different stakeholders go through the bill, there will be different views.

"There will always be different stakeholders whose views are brought to bear when there is a document of such critical importance.

"Once it enters the purview of the legislature, it is expected that different views will be heard.

"At the end of the day, the expectation is that the document that comes out will represent a fairly win-win situation for all stakeholders for the good of the entire economy and the entire polity,’’ she said.

The minister said she was invited by the President to attend the meeting with the NBA, because of the importance of some of the legal policies in the oil and gas sector.

She said the NBA, which was a critical stakeholder in the country, considered the PIB as "a very critical piece of legislation" because of its far reaching implications on the country’s oil and gas sector.

"It is an amalgamation of 16 existing laws in the oil and gas sector which have now been refined and repositioned to hopefully take Nigeria in this sector into the next 30 years and beyond.

"We will like to see it move forward,’’ she said.

Also speaking, the NBA President, Okey Wali (SAN), said the meeting with the President discussed some issues bordering on security, economy, the rule of law, and the Judiciary.

"We thought we should have audience with the President and express our concerns on some issues and then the President graciously took the issues and addressed them.

"We talked about the issue of the independence and funding for the judiciary.

"We talked about the rule of law because we believe that it is a strong issue in any civilised society and we talked about the economy,’’ Wali said.

Wali said the NBA acknowledged and appreciated the fact that Jonathan's administration is working.

He, however, stressed the need for the effects of the work to trickle down and affect the common man positively.

"The government is working because we have lots of reports, but our concern is also the impact on the average Nigerian.

"It is not good enough to have the statistics, but we will like it to be moved to the next level where the average Nigerian gets the impact of what the government is doing,’’ he said.

Wali said the delegation expressed the association's concern over the crisis in Rivers and appealed to the President to do all that he could lawfully do to ensure that peace returned to the state.

 - NAN


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