Senate Suspends Controversial Bill, Steps Down N5 Fuel Levy - EazyFeeds

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Friday, 9 June 2017

Senate Suspends Controversial Bill, Steps Down N5 Fuel Levy

Citing the current economic hardship in the country, the Senate has dumped the plan to impose a N5 levy on the pump price of petroleum products.
The Upper House stepped down further discussions on the Na­tional Road Fund Bill, which pro­vides for the fuel surcharge.

Last week, the Senator Kabiru Gaya-led Committee had in its re­port presented to the Senate, rec­ommended a levy of N5 chargeable per litre on any volume of petrol and diesel products imported into Nige­ria and on non-locally refined petro­leum products.
It also proposed that toll fees not exceeding 10 percent of any reve­nue be paid as user charge per vehi­cle on any designated federal road. The payment will, however, not be applicable to roads under the Pub­lic Private Partnership arrangement.
But when the Bill was present­ed to the Senate for consideration on Thursday, Senators opposed it and urged the Senate to discard the idea because of its harsh economic im­plications.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Senate Lead­er, Ahmad Lawan, Minority Lead­er, Godswill Akpabio and Kabiru Marafa, led the offensive against the Bill.
Gaya who defended the pro­posed law, condemned what he called negative media reports against it.
“There was media report last week that we are increasing fuel by N5. That is not true. We intend to re­move the N5 from the current N145 per litre. If this bill is passed, the gov­ernment will realise about N94 bil­lion per annum,” he said.
Senator Marafa, who opposed the Bill, said its passage will further impoverish Nigerians. He urged his colleagues not to support it.
Similarly, Lawan said: “The re­port of Gaya will not work. When we reach the bridge, we will cross it.”
Akpabio, who seconded La­wan’s motion, declared: “I want to align myself with the submissions of other speakers. I have reserva­tions about the Bill. I do not want the chamber to just pass a law and it will not be effective. I had an expe­rience with the Police Funds when I was a governor. Throughout my time as governor, I did not get any fund.”
When Ekweremadu, who pre­sided over the session put the ques­tion to a voice vote, almost all the lawmakers yelled ‘aye’, including members of the Committee on Works, who signed the initial report.
Ekweremadu in his final in­tervention, before the Senate ad­journed the session and said: “Sen­ate has no intention of increasing the price of fuel. There is no ambiguity about it. What we are trying to do is to find other sources of funding road infrastructure. We do not want to impose hardship on the people of Nigeria. We want to ensure that those who voted for us have com­fort in their lives.”
Meanwhile, the Upper Cham­ber has raised the alarm over the continuous operation of fuel subsi­dy regime. It said contrary to claims by the Federal Government, the Ni­gerian National Petroleum Corpo­ration (NNPC) is still operating sub­sidy regime.
The Chairman, Senate Com­mittee on Petroleum Resourc­es (Downstream), Senator Mara­fa, made the claims on the floor of the Senate.
He said that contrary to claims made by the Federal Government that the fuel subsidy regime had been abolished, the NNPC was still making secret payments.
Marafa claimed that the situa­tion has crippled the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, where the NNPC has become the sole importer of products.

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