Barely 24 days to the end of the year, President Goodluck Jonathan is requesting a fresh N161.1bn to pay outstanding and future subsidy claims for the rest of 2012.
The President said his government’s
provision for subsidy payment in the year was underestimated.
Jonathan’s request was contained in a 2012 Supplementary Appropriation Bill he sent to both the President of the Senate, David Mark, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, on Tuesday.
He told the National Assembly leaders that a forensic exercise carried out on subsidy claims for the year showed that government would still need to pay fuel importers a balance of N7,735,756,316.39 after a total of N880, 264,243,683.61 had been paid.
The Federal Government budgeted N888.1bn for the payment of subsidy on fuel in 2012 following the mass protest that greeted the total removal of the subsidy by the President in January.
Part of Jonathan’s letter to Tambuwal reads, “The Rt. Hon. Speaker will recall that as part of the 2012 Budget Framework, a provision of N888.1bn was made for payment of fuel subsidy for the nation.
“I wish to intimate the Honourable House of Representatives of the fact that, following the forensic audit carried out the provision for fuel subsidy in the 2012 Budget was underestimated.
“As of now, the sum of N880, 264,243,683.61 has been paid out, leaving a balance of N7, 735,756,316.39.
“In order to accommodate the outstanding arrears resulting from the forensic audit exercise and the remaining period of the year 2012, an additional sum of N161,617,364,911 over and above what was programmed to the 2012 framework is required.
“Given the need to maintain a steady flow of petroleum products, especially to the run-up to the festive season, it is my hope that the Honourable Members will kindly accord this request their traditional expeditious consideration and approval.
“Accordingly, I herewith forward copies of the supplemental request for the additional subsidy payment for 2012.”
Minister of Finance and the administration’s coordinating minister for the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on October 21, had said that the government might not need supplementary appropriation for subsidy payments in 2012.
According to her, the N888bn allocated for subsidy payments in the 2012 budget should be enough to pay petroleum product importers.
“We have not exhausted the fund and there may not be a need for a supplementary budget,” Okonjo-Iweala had said.
– The Punch