The controversies surrounding the proposed fuel subsidy removal may not have ended, as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited presented a bill of N3 trillion for deliberations at the Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
According to the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, N3 trillion is the amount required to continue to subsidise petroleum products for the 18 months extension recently approved by the presidency.
Recall that owing to pressures from organised labour groups, civil societies and a cross-section of Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved an 18 months extension for the implementation of full subsidy removal.
Mrs Ahmed, who broke the news to State House Correspondents, explained that FEC considered the request so as to make additional funding provisions to enable the government meet incremental fuel subsidy payment in the 2022 budget.
According to her, only N443 billion is presently available in the 2022 budget meant to accommodate subsidy from January to June.
Buttressing the position of the government, she said with current realities on ground, especially the poverty rate on the part of Nigerians, the NNPC presented a request for N3 trillion from the Ministry of Finance for 2022.
“What this means is that we have to make incremental provision of N2.557 trillion to be able to meet subsidy requirement which is averaging about N270 billion per month.”
She revealed that the Council had deliberated on the matter, directed the ministry to approach the National Assembly for an amendment to the fiscal framework including the budget.
She further revealed that FEC has approved an amendment to be transmitted to the National Assembly to repeal clauses 10 and 11 concerning the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) operations in the 2022 budget, as well restore what the lawmakers had deleted amounting to N103 billion.
The latest information, however, corroborated that of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva who had indicated that the government had taken into consideration the Petroleum Industry Act PIA, hence was forwarding a bill to the National Assembly to cater for the subsidy extension.