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Subsidy will never end in Nigeria -Senator Umeh

A senator from Anambra State, Victor Umeh, has said that payment of fuel subsidy and all the problems associated with it will never end in Nigeria.

The senator said Nigerians are only deceiving themselves by hoping that a time will come when the issue of fuel subsidy will end in the country.

He stated this on Thursday while contributing to discussions on a report of the Senate Committee on Downstream Petroleum Sector on the promissory note programme and a bond issuance to settle inherited local debts and contractual obligations to petroleum marketers.

The report which was presented by chairman of the committee, Senator Kabir Marafa, was seconded for consideration by Senator Barau Jibrin.

In his contribution on the report, Umeh said, “It is very sad for the country that the crude that we use to drive our cars are not manufactured in Nigeria and the cash spent on this is outrageous.

“If we continue to hope that one day this subsidy will end, we are deceiving ourselves. What would Nigerians face after this payment of arrears? People in government have refused to face the problem. Everyone is depending on oil revenue and yet no functional refineries have been set in place.

“The government should be able to plan to build 5 refineries, why can’t we use the money we get from sale of our crude to build refineries? The government should give us a programme to enable us have 4 functional refineries in 5 years.

“Exchange rates are not the problem, but our inability to do what others are doing is the main issue.”

Earlier, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, had said that “government should be serious in their policies and not be directionless in executing these policies.”

Contributing, Senator Barnabas Gemade said, “What has happened to those who defrauded the nation? I believe that the 9th Senate will do justice to know what has happened to this money.”

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, thanked Senator Marafa and his colleagues for the painstaking work they have done in respect of the report.

He said, “Distinguished Colleagues, I want us to note that we are coming to a closure on this as parliamentarians, I hope we can close the books in respect of that and think of the best way to deal with the subsidy issues.

“The factory aspect of it is what Senator Yusuf told us; the issue of subsidy is now a first line charge on oil drilling which is extremely dangerous.

“I hope that the next Assembly will be able to sit with the Executive to address this issue and resolve it without creating unnecessary tension.

‘The NNPC needs to also caution themselves so that they do not encroach on the appropriation responsibility of the National Assembly.”