By Ossom Rapheal
The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, Tuesday insisted that the retention of fuel subsidy is a fraud against the country.
This is coming barely a week after the Senate unanimously rejected the recommendation of its Committee on Finance calling for the total removal of subsidy on petroleum products,
The Chairman, Forum of Commissioners of Finance of the 36 states of the federation, Mr Timothy Odaah, made the position of the committee known while speaking to newsmrn shortly after this month’s FAAC meeting.
Odaah described the payment of fuel subsidy as a fraud against some states, especially the less industrialised ones and likened it to a case of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
Odaah said while the report of the 12-man committee on the review of subsidy was still being awaited, the current position of FAAC is that subsidy must be removed since the purpose for which it was established had been defeated.
The committee which was set up three months ago to review the impact of subsidy on the federation account is made up of six members from the commissioners’ forum and six members from the Accountants-General Forum
“The issue of subsidy removal re-echoed in the meeting and it became an issue of discussion and the report of the committee set up three months ago is being awaited and we still stand on the removal of subsidy as it will be of much benefit to the states because what we have now is like robbing Peter to pay Paul”.
“The purpose by which government set up subsidy is being defeated and so it should be based on consumption”.
On revenue generation, Odaah said there had been a tremendous improvement in the non-oil revenue adding that the rate of oil theft had reduced.
The Federal Government has a budget of N971.1bn for fuel subsidy payment in the 2014 fiscal year, same as in 2013.
Meanwhile, the sum of N755.95bn have been allocated to the three tiers of government for the month of June.
A breakdown of the allocated amount showed that N582.93bn was shared under statutory allocation, N66.414bn was distributed under Value Added Tax while the balance of N71.04bn was shared from excess non-oil revenue.
The Minister of State for Finance, Amb Bashir Yuguda who presided over the meeting put the gross revenue received in the month of June at N784.88bn.
According to Yuguda, this represents a decrease of N59.15bn over the N844.03bn received in the month of May.
The committee also approved the transfer of N50.35 into the Excess Crude Account thus bringing the balance in the account to $4.05bn