Saturday, December 15, 2012

Group lobbies reps against passage of N161bn supplementary budget

A group, the Anti-Corruption Network has begun lobby of members of the House of Representatives against passage of the N161 billion supplementary budget for fuel subsidy payment.

The position of the group was that the request by President Goodluck Jonathan for the budget was fraudulent as there was an outstanding N72.2 billion unspent from the 2011 subsidy appropriation.

Speaking on the budget, the executive secretary of the group, Hon. Dino Melaye, alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) paid N2.3 trillion for fuel subsidy as against the N245 billion for fuel subsidy appropriated last year by the National Assembly and in violation of the Appropriation ACT 2011 and the Fiscal Responsibility ACT 2007.

Melaye further described the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) as an aberration, fraud and corruption pipe for the 2015 elections.

He said, “Last year, 2011, the National Assembly appropriated N245 billion for fuel subsidy. In violation of the Appropriation ACT 2011 and the Fiscal Responsibility ACT 2007, the Central Bank of Nigeria paid N2.3 trillion for fuel subsidy on the basis of fraudulent, satanic and wicked recommendations of the Ministries of Finance and Petroleum Resources.

“In 2011 budget, the sum of N888.3 billion was appropriated by the National Assembly for fuel subsidy. Last two weeks at the budget defence in the National Assembly, the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency, Mr. Stanley Reginald told members of the House of Representatives that a total sum of N679 billion had been spent on fuel subsidy from January to October 2012 and that the sum of N670 million had been saved by the Federal Government.

“From his postulations to the National Assembly, Nigeria spends an average of N367.9 billion per month. So since we have paid up till October, we will only need N135.8 billion to settle the remaining period of November and December. If this N313.8 billion is deducted from the balance of N208 billion left now in the subsidy account, there will be an outstanding of N72.2 billion in the account at the end of the year. So what do we need a supplementary appropriation for? It is fraudulent, not necessary, and pure corruption.

“At all cost within the ambit of law, we must protect the resources of the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The SURE – P program is an aberration, fraud and corruption pipe for the 2015 elections.”

We call on the House of Representatives to demonstrate courage and support for the common man by throwing the bill out through the windows of the National Assembly.”

CHRISTIAN OKEKE, NIGERIAN TRIBUNE, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2012
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