Fuel situation to ease as Senate works on N413bn subsidy payment


End appears in sight for fuel scarcity that has crippled economic activities in the country as 88 percent or N413.36 billion of the supplementary budget at the National Assembly is to address the issue.

The Senate on Wednesday received from President Muhammadu Buhari, N465.64 billion supplementary budget proposal to fund the federal government operations for the remaining 42 days of the year

Other items under the supplementary budget include Operation Lafiya Dole’’ and other issues on the fight against insurgency in the North-East which got N39.65 billion while provision for prison rations, and feeding for unity schools received N2 billion.

The National Assembly was also allocated N10 billion to cater for balance of severance gratuity and allowances of out-gone, incoming legislators and legislative aides, respectively.

In the covering letter, president Buhari said that new funding requirement was to address security issues and other important obligations.

The government also sought an upward review of the new borrowing plan from N882.1 billion to N2.103 trillion.
“The implementation of the Federal Government 2015 Budget has been fraught with significant revenue shortfalls due to continuous decline in the oil price and oil production shortfall.
“Owing to the need to sustain the current progress of addressing the security challenges and other important obligations of government, emergency expenditure requiring urgent funding is projected at N465.64 billion.
“I deem it necessary to formally request the concurrence of the National Assembly to please consider and approve;
“An upward review of the fiscal deficit from 1.09 per cent of GDP to 2.19 per cent of GDP and upward revision of new borrowing from N882.1 billion to N2.103 trillion,” it

The Senate however assured Nigerians that it would accelerate hearing on the supplementary budget in view of the lingering fuel scarcity in the country.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Sen. Aliyu Sabi said that the upper chamber would do everything within its power to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians, who had been undergoing hardship due to shortage of petrol in the country.

“I want to assure you that with the committees on Appropriation and Finance being inaugurated today, we would commence hearing on it as soon as the committees conclude their work.

“I want to assure you that they are willing to work all night if possible to ensure that it is approved, because they are not unmindful of the urgency it requires.
“Whatever they arrive at, when they come back to plenary, we are ready to suspend any law, wave any condition to give expeditious treatment to the budget.
“We are not going to be a stumbling block, we have never been and we will never be,’’ he said.
On its timeliness, Sabi said “supplementary budget by nature comes in when the need arises and as such it is not late.’’

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