… As Senate approves president’s request for N161bn
From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
Senate yesterday granted President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for N161.6 billion for fuel subsidy in 2012, bringing the total figure for the scheme to N1.049 trillion.
The National Assembly had earlier appropriated N888 billion in the 2012 budget. Senate took the second and third readings of the president’s request yesterday amidst mixed reactions from members who said they were constrained to approve the request ‘because we don’t want Nigerians to suffer during the Christmas and New Year celebrations’. In their contributions, Minority Whip, Ganiyu Solomon, Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi, Ahmed Lawan and Gbenga Kaka said they were constrained to support the request but queried the authenticity of the report of the forensic audit purportedly carried out by the Federal Government on the need for more subsidy funds.
Senators demanded that the report of the Senate’s investigation into the fuel subsidy regime be made available and implemented. Summing up the contributions of his colleagues, Senate President David Mark called on the Presidency to either stamp out corruption in the oil industry or stop fuel subsidy. “You have all made valid contributions whether from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or from the opposition.
Nobody went out of track. It is no gainsaying and it not a secret anymore that there is too much corruption in the fuel subsidy industry in whatever system they adopt, and I think the nation must make a decision now on whether to continue or stop it. “If they can’t eliminate the corruption in the industry then, the alternative would be to stop the whole exercise of fuel subsidy, and we must take the one that is easier which will bring less pain to Nigerians.” The Senate president also noted that Jonathan’s request for the supplementary budget was approved in the interest of Nigerians.
“I thank you all for taking into consideration that if this is not approved, Nigerians are the ones who will suffer. Why we are in the chamber here is to work for the welfare of our people. “We are now shouldered with the responsibility of the additional approval. And we have done that in the best interest of this country,” he said.