03 June 2014, Abuja – There was uproar on Tuesday at the ongoing national conference in Abuja as delegates finally rejected the recommendation of the Confab Committee on Public Finance and Revenue for the total removal of the fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.
The Committee chaired by a former Governor of Nasarawa State, Adamu Aliero, had recommended a total removal of subsidy on petroleum products, arguing that this has been a major financial burden on the nation.
The recommendation had generated heated debate at the plenary and created sharp division among the delegates who accused one another of vested interests.
But when it was put to vote, delegates unanimously rejected total removal of the fuel subsidy.
This followed two motions on the withdrawal of existing subsidy on petroleum products sponsored President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar and 34 others and the other one sponsored by Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, and and 24 others, rejecting the recommendation of the committee.
The motions which were joined by the leadership of the conference as adopted by the delegates, however, gave the Federal government conditions for removal of the fuel subsidy in the next three years.
The prayers of the motion by Nwanyanwu, representing the Labour Party at the conference are: “That the Federal Government shall, within a period of three years from the date, build new Refineries and repair existing ones to full capacity utilization.
“That private sector Entrepreneurs who have already been granted licences to build new refineries shall, within a period of three years from date, build such new refineries, or automatically forfeit such licences, to enable other participants who are ready and willing to build such refineries with a period of three years the opportunity to do so.
“That upon fulfillment of the preceding conditions, the Federal Government shall be free to remove any subsidy from Petroleum products.”
The delegates unanimously adopted the motion therefore bringing to an end the controversy generated by the committee recommendation for removal of the fuel subsidy.
– The Punch