The House of Representatives yesterday opposed calls for the total removal of subsidy on petroleum products.
Rather, lawmakers asked the incoming administration of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari ( retd),? to sustain the subsidy regime.
A motion seeking the removal of subsidy as a permanent solution to perennial scarcity, failed in a majority voice vote on the floor of the House.
The present administration of President Goodluck Jonathan had ?voted N145bn for subsidy in the 2015 budget, a slash from the N970bn appropriated for subsidy in 2013 and 2014.
Out of the N145bn, subsidy on petrol is N100bn, while the balance of N45bn is for kerosene.
There have been speculations that the cut in subsidy is part of the government’s plan to remove subsidy completely, had Jonathan won his re-election bid.
Also, there have been calls on Buhari since he won the election to remove subsidy when his government is inaugurated on May 29.
The sponsor of Tuesday’s motion, Karimi Sunday, supported the removal of subsidy, as he argued that the policy had been abused.
Sunday, a Peoples Democratic Party member from Kogi State, stated that only a “few persons” enjoyed the subsidy, while the Nigerian masses the policy was meant to help, never got products at subsidised prices.
He argued that the industry should be fully liberalised to allow investors import products on their own without waiting to abuse the subsidy regime.
He cited the endless queues at filling stations across the country in a subsidy regime and a booming black market as evidence that the policy had been abused.
“Petrol is sold for N150 per litre, depending on where it is available, as against the official price of N87.
“Young men and women have taken to fuel hawking as a quick money-making venture.
“The administration of Buhari should be courageous enough to abolish subsidy,” he stated.
Sunday also noted that the removal of subsidy would address the resort of marketers to hold the country to ransom over subsidy claims.
But, the session, which was presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, rejected the motion.
When he put the motion to vote, it was defeated in a majority voice vote.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.