Senate Denies Increase in Fuel Price

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The Senate has denied plans of increasing the price of fuel in the country, following the recommendation of  N5 levy to be imposed on every litre of diesel and petrol imported into the country. The senate committee on works earlier made available the report of a proposed bill for the rescue of Nigerian roads, of which 77 per cent is classified as dilapidated and dangerous.

The bill had listed the levy as part of the measures to raise funds for the maintenance of roads. But in a statement on Saturday, the senate said there were different opinions on the issue.

“At the public hearing on the national roads fund bill the stakeholders were unanimous on the need to access a percentage of the funds for the sustainable maintenance of roads from the pricing template of petroleum products,” the statement read.

“While the unanimity was on a percentage, opinion varied as to what percentage. Some argued for 25%, 11%, 7% and 5% of the value of the price of the product.

“This position was held strongly since most other African countries have actually implemented an average of N25 surcharge on petroleum products for the maintenance of their roads. It was the widely-held view that we may not be able to go that far in view of the economic challenges the country was going through and the need to ameliorate the suffering of the ordinary Nigerian.

“The technical committee in review of this submission determined that even at a surcharge of 5% which leaves the value at about N11 (at the current price of PMS) will be untenable not only due to implementation challenge that would have require that at all times, the surcharge will mean an addition burden is placed on Nigerians beyond the cost of the petroleum product.

“Rather it was agreed that the charge be pegged at N5 (five naira) and implemented within the existing charges template rather than a calculation arrived at in addition to the price of the product.

“Therefore, what the senate has adopted is an innovative and most sensitive approach to eliminate the possibility of increasing the price of fuel in order to fund the roads fund. Now with what we have the charge on petroleum products for the purpose of funding road maintenance will have to be determined within the charges template as they already existing within the PPPRA template.

“Finally, it’s important therefore to make it clear that there is no ambiguity in what the senate has done as there will be no one naira added to the current price of fuel as a result of this bill. The charge is to be accommodated within the pricing charge template in effect within the PPPRA.

“What the senate has adopted is the minimalist approach to ensure that our roads can come back to life.”

Edited by McDike Dimkpa

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