Abuja: The Deputy Minority Leader, House of Representative, Rt. Hon. Toby Okechukwu has stated that continuing Petroleum subsidy in the 2023 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari, following the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) was fraudulent.
The lawmaker representing Aninri/Awgu/Oji-River Federal Constituency in the Green chamber made the assertion this Tuesday while contributing to a debate on the floor of the House of Representatives after the presentation of the 2023 Budget proposal by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, “We need to take some steps back, and let me remind you, the PIA Acts that was done by this parliaments presupposes that subsidy should have been withdrawn, Contiunous subsidy of petroleum products is a beach of that Law and we are Continuing to do it when Mr. President where he was a candidate claimed that Oil subsidy is a Scam. I am surprised that this scam is Continuing to run out it has be magnified and amplified by this government. Time is of essence, if we have to face reality.
While Commending the president for bringing the budget,and he has also approached, but that is as good as it goes he has brought it, stating that it has become a document of the House.
Hon. Okechukwu said, it is quite important to state that the things the budget do not contain are very critical.
First and foremost, the bench mark as established, we have 435 naira exchanging to the dollar in the real market and black market is 740 naira, it is a complete distortion of reality and we have operated that way running through parallel market regardless of the exchange rate of this country.
The Lawmaker emphasized that The Oil bench mark today or the bench mark we have is, as per quota which is 1.6 million barrel per day. Today what we have or what we have set out to do is less than 1.8 barrel of which we should be doing.
Unfortunately, the insecurity situation in the Niger Delta, the Level of Theft and the Haste that is going on, in the Oil industry has made this impossible.
Okechukwu lamented that Nigeria’s economy was hemorrhaging seriously from monumental oil theft, making it impossible for the country to fund the 2023 budget
“When you set out a goal to harvest 1.8 million barrels of Oil per day and you cut short of it 50 percent, today, we are doing 800 and if this economy is no more hemorrhaging, it is hemorrhaging to the effect that we are not able to achieve what we are supposed to do and you begin to question, who are the superintendents…
“Suddenly, we are not able to meet up anything; suddenly we discover that the pipeline has been existing for the harvest of petroleum products and it’s not official and they have a platform that is out there in the save; and then we are supposed to have electronic security gadgets monitoring the sector and suddenly we are paying private contractors, security contractors to do our supervision in the Oil sector and they are discovering including ship loads of petroleum products and it is quite unfortunate that we have people superintending this, and it is happening in their very face and nobody has been sacked.
The Lawmaker lamented, that the level of borrowing that has been done in last budget is going to be from 3.6 to 6.31 trillion, if you combine that with the recurrent expenditure, what we are going to spend on overhead personnel, it consumes about more than 70 percent of the budget and what is left for production. How can a country who is spending that amount of money be able to be productive.
Hon. Toby Okechukwu Suggested and advised the parliament to be courageous while doing it’s job. suddenly, we have reduced subsidy to 6 months, first half of the year because there will be election issues.
He further stated That The government had no courage to undertake that enterprise and subsidy is coming off, from the second half of next year which is being political; it’s not driven by Patriotism. I think this house should be courageous, we should face our reality and ensure that we “redo” the budget so that it can be effective for Nigerians.
“The last government, Good Luck Jonathan budgeted 4.8 trillion now we are budgeting 20 trillion, if they check the amount in dollars, and they are about the same amount, it’s about 30 billion dollars and today you can see how the capacity have been run underground.