Nigeria News
Reps oppose fuel subsidy removal

The House of Representatives on Tuesday opposed calls for the total removal of subsidy on petroleum products.

Rather, the lawmakers asked the incoming administration of the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, to sustain the subsidy regime.

A motion seeking the removal of subsidy as a permanent solution to the fuel perennial scarcity failed in a majority voice vote on the floor of the House.

President Goodluck Jonathan had voted N145bn for subsidy in the 2015 budget, a slash from the N970bn appropriated for subsidy in 2013 and 2014.

Out of the N145bn, subsidy on petrol is N100bn, while the balance of N45bn is for kerosene subsidy.

There has been speculation that the cut in subsidy is part of the government’s plan to remove subsidy completely had Jonathan won his re-election bid.

Also, there have been calls and counter-calls on Buhari since he won the election to remove subsidy on petroleum products after the inauguration of his administration on May 29.

The sponsor of Tuesday’s motion, Mr. Karimi Sunday, supported the removal of subsidy, as he argued that the policy had been abused.

Sunday, a Peoples Democratic Party member from Kogi State, stated that only a “few persons” enjoyed the subsidy, while the Nigerian masses that the policy was meant to help, never got products at subsidised prices.

He argued that the industry should be fully liberalised to allow investors to import products on their own in order to avoid the abuse of the subsidy regime.

He cited the endless queues at filling stations across the country in a subsidy regime and the booming black market as evidence that the policy had been abused.

“Petrol is sold at N150 per litre, depending on availability, as against the official price of N87.

‘’Young men and women have taken to fuel hawking as a quick money-making venture.

“The administration of Buhari should be courageous enough to abolish subsidy,” he argued.

Sunday also noted that the removal of subsidy would address the resort of marketers to hold the country to ransom over subsidy claims.

But lawmakers at the session, which was presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, rejected the motion.

When he put the motion to vote, it was defeated in a majority voice vote.

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