Senate seeks subsidy inclusion in 2018 budget

Senate seeks subsidy inclusion in 2018 budget

- Senate has requested the executive to include fuel subsidy in the 2018 budget

- Senate President Bukola Saraki said the NNPC has become the sole importer of petrol because of lack of provision for subsidy

- Saraki explained that the reason why the NNPC is the sole importer is because there is no budget for subsidy, so it just dips its hands into crude oil sales

The Nigerian Senate on Thursday, April 27, directed its committees on appropriation and public accounts to liaise with the executive arm of government to ensure that appropriation for fuel subsidy is introduced in the 2018 budget.

This Day reports that the Senate made order following the discovery that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) paid the sum of N216.9 billion to cover the N26 per litre differentials between the N171 landing cost of petrol and the sale at N145 per litre.

It was learnt that the committee found that within the period, the NNPC imported 9.8 billion litres of petrol, for $5.5billion (N1.68 trillion).

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The Senate also mandated the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) to carry out a comprehensive audit of the accounts of the NNPC for the last five years.

On this part, Senate President Bukola Saraki said the NNPC has become the sole importer of petrol because of lack of provision for subsidy, which he noted could have encouraged private sector participation.

Saraki said: “The reason why the NNPC is the sole importer is because there is no budget for subsidy, so it just dips its hands into crude oil sales. This is illegal payment. It is better we rectify this and stop deceiving Nigerians. If we include subsidy, even private companies would participate in importing petrol, which may even make the price to go down.

“NNPC is using the absurd word that is operational costs, and this is an insult to Nigerians. IMF (International Monetary Fund) and others see this kind of reports, and laugh at us. “

The chairman of PAC, Senator Matthew Uroghide, presenting the findings of the investigation said it was curious that the NNPC did not seek appropriation for the N216.9 billion.

Uroghide said: “The Director of Finance said they do not want to talk about it, after we asked why they are not asking for it to be appropriated. It is not their exclusive right to decide to pay the money. “

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“There is need for the federal government to pay oil marketers the outstanding arrears of subsidy owed them prior to 2017.“

Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu PDP) said the issue of NNPC and the extra-budgetary spending is not something, which the Senate should take lightly.

They are using semantics to hide illegality. If we condemn Mr. President’s buying of Tucano aircrafts to be supplied in 2020 without appropriation, this one is more condemnable,” Utazi said.

The Senate thereafter directed the corporation to stop the illegal payments immediately.

Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had reported that the Senate described the 2018 budget estimate presented by the executive as an imaginary document.

The lawmakers during plenary on Tuesday, November 28, said the 2018 budget was unrealistic and insensitive to the plight of the people.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe who was one of the first senators to fault the document said the 2018 budget is an imaginary document.

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Source: Naija.ng

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