Published On: Mon, Jun 2nd, 2014

N713 Billion Unremitted Fund Uncovers In NPA As Delegates Sing Discodant Tune On Subsidy Removal

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By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.

The National Conference Committee on Public Finance has uncovered  the sum of N713 billion being an unremitted fund to the federation account by the Nigerian Port Authourity (NPA) between 2009 to 2014. The committee revealed that the NPA operates under an ambiguous framework.

The 1999 constitution as amended provides that money generated by agencies of government are to be remitted into the federation account.

But, according to the committee report which was table before delegates at the Conference holding in Abuja, Monday, in 2009, NPA generated N91 billion but remmited N5.2billion, in 2010, it generated N102 billion remitted N3.5 billion, in 2011, it generated N120 billion remitted N1billion, in 2012, the port authority generated N128 billion but remitted N17.8billion.

The report further revealed that NPA generated N131 billion in 2013 but remitted N3.2billion, while in 2014, N172 billion was generated so far.

Reading the report at the plenary, the Chairman of Conference Committee on Public Finance, Senator Adamu Aliero observed that the Authority operates under an ambiguous and unclear framework due to lack of information on the form and content of concession agreement it entered into with private operators.

The committee also noted that the level of remittance when compared to revenue is  ridiculously low and unstable in spite of the  Authourity’s explanation that a large percentage of the revenue was expended on operating cost and capital expenditure.

The committee however recommended that the concession agreement should be revisited.

While the Chairman of the committee was reading the report, there was a general feeling of concern by delegates, many of whom were amazed when Senator Aliero informed the conference about unremmited fund by NPA.

Meanwhile, the Conference Committee on Public Finance has recommended total removal of fuel subsidy, arguing Nigeria paid the lowest for fuel in Sub-sahara Africa.

Though, final decision is yet to be taken on this as many delegates are expected to take their turn to speak on the issue, preponderance of opinion was against the recommendation on removal of fuel subsidy.

The proposed removal of subsidy as recommended by the Conference Committee on Public Finance has began to divide delegates.

Some delegates who kicked against the removal of fuel subsidy argued that there is nothing wrong if government continues to subsidize petroleum product in Nigeria.

However, other delegates who supported the removal of fuel subsidy argued that Nigerians are not benefiting from fuel subsidy, arguing few individual have hijacked the subsidy of petroleum product.

Speaking on the subsidy, Senator Ibrahim Idah, from Kogi, said there is nothing wrong if government continues to subsidize fuel for its citizens.

But, Seagent Awuse, from Rivers, in his submission supported the removal of fuel subsidy, saying that most Nigerians are not benefiting from it.

Also, Jonathan Temlong supported the removal of fuel subsidy. He argued that there is no where outside Abuja where one can buy fuel less than N120 even as he advised that government should stop importing product that is producing.

In his own submission, the former Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Chairman, Ahmadu Ali advised that the removal of the subsidy should be gradual that any attempt to remove it absolutely will cause crisis.

 

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