Senate seeks subsidy inclusion in 2018 budget

Senate seeks subsidy inclusion in 2018 budget

Senate yesterday requested the Executive to include fuel subsidy in the 2018 budget.

The call followed consideration of the report of the Senate committee on Public Accounts on subsidy payment by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) without recourse to the National Assembly.

The Senate committees on Appropriation and Public Accounts have been mandated to liaise with the Executive to ensure that the subsidy was included.

NNPC had announced on March 5, that it was spending N774 million daily as ‘subsidy’ on the 50 million litres of petrol consumed in the country.

Early this month, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu said a total of N1.4 trillion was being spent annually by the NNPC on under recovery of petrol.

Our correspondent reports that in the last three years, there had not been provision for subsidy in the country’s budget.

Presenting the report, Mathew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo) said NNPC in 2017 paid itself N216bn being differential between approved and landing cost of petrol.

He said the corporation described the differential as “Operational cost.” He said the landing cost of petrol was N171 as against the N145 approved pump price.

The Senate also mandated the NNPC to refund the N216bn it paid itself to the federation account.

Other resolutions were, “The NNPC should stop the illegal payment without appropriation henceforth. The NNPC through Mr President should make a formal request to the National Assembly for the illegal payments.”

Senate President Bukola Saraki described the payment of subsidy under the guise of ‘operational cost’ by the NNPC as illegal.

“For NNPC to be calling it operational cost is an insult on the integrity of the country. Let us capture the subsidy payment in the budget so that we wouldn’t have this illegal payment,” he said.