The National Assembly in Nigeria has approved a reviewed amount of 574 billion Naira, as supplementary appropriation for the 2015 Fiscal Year.
The supplementary budget was sent to the National Assembly on November 18 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari had requested for 465.6 billion Naira but the National Assembly reviewed the amount, adding 108.9 billion Naira.
According to the National Assembly, the added 108 billion Naira will offset subsidy debts for the last quarter of 2015 which was not captured in the 2015 budget.
They said the addition was to ensure that the funds which, were not captured, would not lead to industrial action that could result in fuel scarcity.
A breakdown of the approved supplementary budget showed that petroleum subsidy payment would now gulp 522.2 billion Naira, the fight against insurgency under operation Zaman Lafiya in the north-east would gulp 29.9 billion Naira while the Nigerian Army is to get 17.4 billion Naira.
The Victims Support Fund would gulp five billion Naira while the Outstanding Severance Gratuity and Allowances of outgone and incoming legislators and their aides will take 10.6 billion Naira.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, explained that 90 per cent of the supplementary budget was meant for the payment of subsidy to major oil marketers who imported 52 per cent of petroleum products.
Giving further breakdown of the budget, the House of Representatives said that the additional funds were for subsidy payments from October to December 2015.
Petroleum Marketers To Get Outstanding Payment Next Week – Kachikwu
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has assured petroleum marketers that outstanding payment for products imported would be made next week.
Dr. Kachikwu spoke after a tour of service stations and depots in Lagos on Tuesday.
He was accompanied by the Managing Director of Pipelines and Product Marketing Company and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) officials.
The Minister said there was enough petrol to dispense and wondered why cases of scarcity persisted.
Dr. Kachikwu, however, admitted that there was a shortfall in supply, as a lot of marketers were not bringing in products because they were owed subsidy money.
He said that the money would be paid to the marketers before the end of next week and appealed to Nigerians to stop any form of panic buying, as the available product would go round.
“We have enough product to last us through December. We are bringing in more intervention products and we are doing everything that we can to bring in more products that are actually more than required by the nation by December.
“People should stop panic buying.
“DPR is going to do their work and enforce the rules,” he stressed.
Giving the long term plan of the government to ensure availability of petroleum products, Dr. Kachikwu said that the government was looking at what to do with strategic reserves.
“How do we have enough products in reserves so that these sought of situations do not arise? No country in the world deserves to have this kind of disruption in their day-to-day activities because of product.
“Our refineries which haven’t worked so far, we are working. I have been told that Port Harcourt and Kaduna, subject to us being able to deal with the pipeline issue, may be able to come back before the end of December and help,” the Minister said, emphasising that he had given a 90-day ultimatum to the refineries managers to begin operations.
The ultimatum will end in December.
Giving further plans of the government in the petroleum sector, the Minister stated that in January, the government would consider the refinery models.
He said that the government would be looking on how to get people to assist with the technical work to get the refineries to work in a much more consistent and permanent basis.
“From late January, we will begin with the direct sales-direct-purchase programme and you will have a lot more predictability and efficiency in what we are doing.”
He appealed to Nigerians to work with the government collaboratively and give it time for the plans to work.
For more than one month, Nigerians have experienced shortage in supply of petrol, leading to queues at different service stations across the nation.
Some service stations sell above the approved pump price of 87 Naira, making a fortune out of vehicle users and those buying to fuel their electricity generating sect.