- Category: Politics
- Published on Monday, 17 October 2011 06:49
- Written by Admin
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Fresh facts have emerged on the illegal N1.5 trillion spent on oil subsidy by the Presidency as against N240 billion approved for the same purpose by the National Assembly for the 2011 fiscal year.
He, therefore, called for an investigation into the matter. Consequently, the Senate mandated its Committees on Finance, Appropriations and Petroleum Resources (downstream) to investigate the management of the current oil subsidy fund by the Presidency. Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Ahmed Maccido in an interview at the weekend told us that the Presidency legitimately sold crude oil but failed to approach the National Assembly with information concerning the sales.
He said the lawmakers took the Presidency up on its proposal to remove oil subsidy beginning from next year.
“We learnt that it was money that was got from a particular sale. The money was gotten from particular crude sales lawfully but unfortunately, the money was not appropriated by the National Assembly. We were not informed as to what that particular money was being kept aside for. They just went ahead and used it for subsidy. At least, they could have written a letter to the National Assembly, informing us of the action they took, that would have been better but it wasn’t like that.”
Asked if the National Assembly had demanded for details concerning the illegal expenditure, Maccido replied: “We took up the issue with them when we met the President and his economic team last Monday and I believe they were ready to make amends.“As you are aware, we budgeted N240 billion but the irony is that they have spent more than N1 trillion. So, you can imagine the difference between what we budgeted for and what was expended.
Maccido esplained: “We have not been given details of where the subsidy being removed would be utilised. But the thing here is, there are lots of questions as to where the N1. 3 trillion came from because the money has not even been appropriated by the National Assembly. “The Senate has inaugurated a committee on this particular issue. We’re going to investigate it; we are going to find out where those monies came from; we are going to find out how those monies are being spent; if it’s being spent rightly or not. We know what to do.
In any case, I believe this investigation will form a basis for our agreement as to whether fuel subsidy should be removed or not. “If we realize that this money is being spent, there is a way we can make it work for Nigerians in form of subsidy and if it is not, we are going to demand that this money be returned and that subsidy should be removed. That’s why I said earlier that this investigation might form a basis for whether subsidy should be removed or not.”
Maccido also pointed out that this time around, the National Assembly would insist on dialogue with the Presidency over the 2012 budget and a consensus reached before the passage of the Appropriation Bill.
His words: “We took up the issue (of the 2012 budget) with them; that the budget is our sole responsibility and that this time around, the executive would make the proposal but the National Assembly would give the approval.
“This time, we will sit down at a table, there will be dialogue on the budget and we will resolve our differences before the budget is approved,” he stressed.
Two weeks ago, the Federal Government gave the indication that it would remove the subsidy on petroleum products as from January next year. Proponents of the subsidy removal had argued that the over N600 billion that would saved from the policy would be channeled into provision of social infrastructure for the masses. They also argued that the subsidy was going into the pockets of a cartel within the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. (Daily Sun)
Fuel subsidy: FG may spend N1.5trn this year – Saraki
The Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, Dr. Bukola Saraki at the weekend said the Federal Government might spend a whopping N1.5 trillion on fuel subsidy this year. He added that government expended N600 billion in 2010 alone in subsidising the same products.
Saraki, who is the chairman, Senate Committee on the Environment, spoke with newsmen at the weekend in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, added that N1.5 trillion was “even more than the entire capital expenditure.” The immediate past governor of Kwara State therefore threw his weight behind the Federal Government’s proposed fuel subsidy withdrawal, urging government to win the confidence of Nigerians.
He added that “spending N1.5 trillion annually on fuel subsidy is not sustainable. Government must, however, be able to convince Nigerians that removing the subsidy is in their own interest. Government must also make all know that there are tangible benefits to be derived from the withdrawal of fuel subsidy. But this will take a lot of consultation.
“Last year, government spent about N600 billion on fuel subsidy; this year, it is likely we are going to spend N1.5 trillion. Then you ask yourself, are there more cars? Are we consuming more fuel than before? If we run a more efficient mechanism is it possible to keep it at N600 billion. At N600 billion is it sustainable? Spending N1.5 trillion on fuel subsidy is suffocating government.
“If we are producing through the refinery, the fuel will not cost as much and at that level you can subsidise. Other countries they are comparing Nigeria with are refining their own petroleum products. People are rejecting the proposal as they have lost confidence in the process. They don’t want to know how we got to that mess.”
On the defection of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) members to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Saraki said “I’m not surprised because right from time I know that PDP is well entrenched in the state. Given our achievements in the past eight years and the determination of Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed to keep the ground running, people now see PDP as a party that will help the common man in the state,” he said. (Daily Sun)