The House of Representatives on Thursday de-listed petroleum products from list of commodities being regulated by Federal Government as enshrined in the Price Control Act.
The House took the decision after considering the recommendations of its committee, which studied the bill to amend the Price Control Act, to provide for concessions and waivers, stiffer penalties and to enforce implementation.
The bill sponsored by Rep. Gabriel Onyeama (APGA Anambra) seeks to amend “the first schedule of the principal Act” by deleting the existing list and substituting it with a new list in the schedule”.
Based on the recommendations by the committee of the whole house at plenary, 14 commodities were approved under the new price control legislation.
The commodities are bicycles and spare parts, flour, matches, milk, motorcycles and spare parts, motor vehicles and spare parts, salt, sugar, rice, grains, cereals, electrical/electronic equipment, computers and computer accessories and cement.
The House also adopted the amendment of section 17(b) by increasing the penalty for contravention of the law to N100, 000 from N200 and one year imprisonment.
The lawmakers also approved insertion of subsection 13(2) which stipulates imposition of two years imprisonment or N200,000 on any person that contravenes any provisions of an order made by the court.
Meanwhile, the absence of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kackikwu on Thursday stalled a scheduled public hearing of the House Committee on Privatisation and Commercialization at the National Assembly.
The hearing was adjourned after the committee was informed of the Minister’s inability to attend due to his foreign trip to attend a summit of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The minister was expected to explain why Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) rather than Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) opened bid for the sale of the nation’s three refineries in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt.
Chairman of the committee, Rep. Ahmed Yerima (Bauchi-APC), expressed displeasure over the minister’s inability to inform the committee about the trip.
“The impression people, including the minister, have is that the committee is opposed to privatisation; that is not true.
“This investigation is to ensure that the NNPC follows due process in the privatization of these refineries,” he said.
Yerima warned that the committee may invoke relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution to deal with the minister if he failed to appear before it within one week.