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Senate Approves ₦574 Billion Supplementary Budget

The Senate of the Federal republic of Nigeria on Tuesday approved the supplementary budget to the tune of 574 billion Naira, an additional 108 billion Naira more than the previously proposed 465 billion, to cover for more subsidy payments. 

senate approves budget

In a presentation of the supplementary appropriation bill by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, at the plenary session, explained that the initial 413 billion Naira needed to settle petroleum products subsidy claims only covered 9 months of 2015, from January to September thus necessitating the additional 108 billion Naira needed to sort out subsidy payments for the remaining 3 months of 2015 and avert fuel scarcity over the festive periods.

A day earlier, the Committee on Appropriation had directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other stakeholders in the petroleum industry to harmonise the petroleum subsidy claims for the remaining months of October till December 2015 and submit a detailed breakdown of how the subsidy payments are made.

It is needless to say that fuel scarcity has become a worrisome trend across the country in recent weeks, with many stakeholders in the petroleum industry trading blames across various platforms and fingering the subsidy demanding, major oil marketers as the major cause.

President of the Senate, Olubukola Saraki while appreciating the Appropriation Committee of the Senate that had thoroughly investigated the supplementary budget and subsidy claims likened the scenario to economic sabotage and  blackmail by the oil marketers. He called on the Senate Anti-Corruption Committee to also undertake an oversight function on the utilisation of the subsidy payments.

In the ensuing debate, there was a general sense of urgency on the floor of the Senate as the need to speedily approve the budget was imminent to mitigate sufferings during the upcoming holidays. Despite the need for the approval of the budget, many senators however demanded for more transparency over petroleum subsidy figures.

Senate Leader, Ali Ndume wondered at the continuous skyrocketing amount of subsidy claims, saying that the only people who believe in financial figures being put forward as subsidy claims are those who are the recipients.

Putting party politics aside, Minority leader of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio for once concurred with the APC by admitting that budget should be immediately approved because of the welfare of Nigerians. Senator Akpabio also pushed for an end to the subsidy payment by allowing the demand and supply to determine the price of petroleum products. He equally called on the Senate Committee on Appropriation and other relevant agencies to be vibrant in their oversight and monitoring functions of the utilisation and disbursements of the approved funds.

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The Senate | Federal Republic of Nigeria | National Assembly Complex | Three Arms Zone, PMB 141, Abuja | Nigeria