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Senate passes N574bn supplementary appropriation bill
The Senate has passed the N574bn supplementary appropriation bill, which was N108bn higher than the N465bn figure contained in the document, as presented to the upper chamber two weeks ago by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, while presenting his report on the legislative action carried out on the document, explained that 90 percent of the budget size, was meant for the payment of subsidy to major oil marketers which imports 52 percent of the product.
But the report failed to identify the beneficiaries of the subsidy among the major oil marketers neither did it also contains details of the disbursement.
Apart from this, the committee in its report did not mention anything about the amount being paid to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as subsidy on the 48 percent of petrol being imported by the Pipeline Products and Marketing Company, which had never been approved by the National Assembly.
Rather, Goje explained that the provisions for subsidy payment contained in the document, covers N120.5bn, being arrears of 2014; N292.8bn subsidy claims from January to September 2015; and N108.8bn being subsidy claims for the last quarter of 2015 which was not captured in the appropriation bill sent by Buhari.
He added that the N5bn Victim Support Fund hitherto contained in the document under the Capital Supplementation had been moved to the Service Wide Vote since it is a Federal Government contribution to a fund managed by a committee which is not a government agency.
He said N10.6bn was approved for the payment of the severance gratuity and allowances of outgone and incoming legislators and legislative aides while N29.9bn was approved for the Armed Forces for the purpose of effectively tackling insurgency under “Operation Zaman Lafiya”
The Chairman also said the N1.5bn request by the National Sports Commission for the All Africa Games Qualifications for RIO 2016 Olympics Games.
However, the principal officers of the Senate who spoke before the final approval of the supplementary budget, lamented that oil marketers had succeeded in blackmailing the National Assembly to approve the bill because they do no longer believe in the subsidy regime.
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