Supplementary Budget: Confusion Among MDA’s As FG Needs Additional N108 Billion For Fuel SubsidyFeatured, Latest News, News Monday, November 30th, 2015
Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja
Confusion among federal government agencies ensued yesterday before the Senate committee on Appropriation over submissions for approval of the N465.6 billion Supplementary budget forwarded to National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari as request for additional N108 billion for fuel subsidy was made.
More so, the Committee, detected from what Sen. Albert Akpan (Akwa-Ibom) described as intelligent report, that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC ), had hidden its own share of over N700 billion subsidy payment which they had deducted at source without appropriation.
President Buhari had in the N465.6 billion 2015 supplementary budget proposal , requested for approval of N413billion as outstanding fuel subsidy payments to oil marketers but after the committee’s observation, the permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Petroleum, Mrs Jamila Suara, disclosed that the amount does not cover the last three months of the year .
According to her, the projected subsidy claims for the last quarter of the year apart from the N413 billion already requested for, is N108 billion , totaling N521 billion needed for fuel subsidy payment in the year.
“We just called the attention of the budget office to the fact that the proposal for the last quarter had not really been captured because it was about N108 billion.
“When we started discussion on it. It was much earlier in the year, hence the tidying up was not completed”, she said.
A submission that could not be supported by facts and figures by both Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning whose representatives were later directed by the committee to go for harmonization.
Also, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Udo Udoma, sought the leave of the committee to allow his ministry, that of petroleum resources and the Finance, meet to reconcile for the purpose of including the additional N108bn in the supplementary budget.
Irked by the development, the committee led by his Chairman, Danjuma Goje( APC Gombe Central), lambasted the agencies for lacking synergy in their operations that have to do with petroleum records of regards and other very important statistics for needed action by government at any point in time.
He wondered why the Petroleum Ministry and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) would forward carryover of subsidy bills from 2014 fiscal year to join the ones from January to September 2015, leaving out three critical months of the year.
To this end, the Senate panel approved request of Jamila Suara,that all the fuel subsidy agencies of government including the Budget Office, Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and NNPC to return to the drawing board and submit a comprehensive bill, that covers the remaining months of the year, 2015.
“This government is about change; change from sordid past; change is to totally eliminate queues from our filling stations; every person must play a role to effect positive changes in the economy”, Goje said.
In his remarks, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim ( Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions) noted that there was no clear synergy between the Ministry of Budget and the petroleum resources ministry.
He asked whether the N413bn figure earlier forwarded, included the exchange rate differential and the accumulated interest being claimed by the importers or whether they are the agreed figures with them and their bankers.
Also, Senator Tayo Alasoadura ( Chairman, senate Committee on Petroleum Resources ( Upstream) questioned details of the subsidy requests specifying exact payment due to each of the major oil marketers.
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