The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has reiterated its support for the recent subsidy removal announced by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Even though Nigerians have been faced with increased cost of living as occasioned by the subsidy removal, the chairman of RMAFC, Mohammed Bello Shehu said that it was long overdue.
Shehu who disclosed this in a statement recalled that the Commission had consistently expressed its position on the vexatious issue of subsidy removal since the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
For him, the continued payment of subsidy was a major challenge to the economic growth and development of the country.
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According to Shehu, “the Commission’s position was premised on the fact that the continued payment of humungous amounts to a privileged few in the name of subsidy was a major drain on the nation’s scarce resources as the Nigeria National Petroleum Company limited (NNPCL) one of the major sources of revenue to the Federation Account had since stopped contributing to the national pause due to the fuel subsidy regime which is characterized by opaqueness and other ambiguities.
“As one of the fourteen (14) Federal Executive Bodies established by section 153 (1)(n) and empowered by paragraph 32 (a) and (c) of part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution(as amended), RMAFC has the constitutional mandate to monitor the accruals to and disbursement of Revenue from the Federation Account and also advise Federal and State Governments on fiscal efficiency and methods by which their revenue can be increased,” he said.
He further explained that the country can no longer sustain fuel subsidies whose demerits far outweigh its benefits to the citizenry.
He noted that the total amount withheld by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) as claimed subsidies since 1st January, 2022 to date was N8,480,204,553,608.13 as reported by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation(OAGF) which is yet to be reconciled by the RMAFC, OAGF, and NNPCL.
“It is saddening to note that since 1st January, 2022 to date, the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has not been contributing to the Federation Account due to the claimed subsidy payments.
“In a situation whereby the records of subsidy transactions are not transparent and crude oil prices are being determined globally, it would be unwise to sustain the phantom payments of subsidy at the detriment of other critical sectors of the economy thus making its sustainability difficult for the Government.”
Shehu further emphasized that the removal of fuel subsidies will eliminate the alleged uncertainty surrounding the subsidy regime just as it will free funds for the execution of critical national development and human capital enhancement projects.