Budget 2015: We approved N143bn for fuel subsidy – Senators
The Senate Committee Chairman on Finance, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, on Thursday said it was untrue that no provision was made for fuel subsidy in the 2015 budget which was passed by the lawmakers few days ago.
Makarfi, who made the clarification in Abuja during a chat with journalists, also gave an insight into how the nation can effectively address the issue of high cost of governance.
The Senate had on Tuesday passed the national budget of N4.493tr for the 2015 fiscal year, about five months after it was presented by the Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The fiscal document, which was earlier passed by the House of Representatives last week, was N51bn higher than the N4.425tn submitted to both chambers of the National Assembly by the Federal Government.
Following the passage, there had been insinuations and reports that there was no provision for fuel subsidy in the 2015 budget.
The fear about the absence of fuel subsidy had led to insinuations within some quarters that it was a booby trap set for the in-coming government of General Muhammadu Buhari.
But Makarfi said a total sum of N100bn was provided for as subsidy for Premium Motor Spirit, while N43bn was approved for Dual Purpose Kerosene for the 2015 fiscal period.
Markafi said 'There is a provision for subsidy in the budget, people need to understand where to look for an issue. If you look at the main appropriation, there is so many cost components.
'You will not see cash call in the main appropriation, you will not see subsidy in the main appropriation. There are expenses in the main memoranda items that you are not going to see in the main appropriation.
'For you to see them, you have to go through the revenue profile. In this year budget, N100bn was provided for Premium Motor Spirit, N43bn for DPK.
The federal government in 2013, budgeted the sum of N970bn for fuel subsidy out of which N515bn was released to oil marketers.
In the 2014 fiscal period, the same N970bn was budgeted for fuel subsidy while N414bn was released.
But Makarfi said while the amount budgeted for this year may not be enough to for subsidised petroleum products, the law allows for a request of additional funding when the need arises.
This window, according to him, could be used by the incoming government.