The Senate on Wednesday, slashed the allocation for petrol and kerosene subsidies presented by the Ministry of Finance in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for 2015 – 2017.
The upper chamber, while approving the MTEF, slashed petrol subsidy from N200 billion to N100 billion.
It also reduced the subsidy allocated to kerosene from N91.08 billion to N45.52 billion. The Kerosene subsidy is the first proposed in the last few years, after criticisms that the government spends hundreds of billions on kerosene subsidy annually without any appropriation.
The Chairman of the Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning; Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Ahmed Makarfi, said the reduction was due to the fall in oil prices at the international market.
“The relevant committees of the National Assembly should through oversight, ensure the full implementation of the proposed kerosene subsidy and the availability and of the product,” he said.
Mr. Makarfi also said the reduction in the subsidy allocations to petrol reflected government’s commitment to transparency and accountability in the entire oil and gas sector.
In his remarks, the Senate President, David Mark, said there was need for a budget cut across the three arms of government in view of the current economic reality.
Mr. Mark said the government must continue with its reform policy in order to promote the growth of the non-oil sector. He expressed delight on the expeditious passage of the MTEF, adding that “this is the kind of cooperation required to build our nation.”
Also, the Deputy President of Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, said the country must learn from wasteful spending of the past, adding “we must engage in prudent spending in order to build our foreign reserve.”
He said that many countries had survived with fewer resources, adding that “Nigeria must look away from relying on oil and spending on oil wistfully.’’