President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to transmit a bill to the National Assembly to amend the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). Lawan stated this before he referred the president’s request for the amendment of the 2022 Appropriation Act to the Committee on Appropriation, after the bill scaled Second Reading.
The senate president said the request seeking an amendment to the PIA would enable the National Assembly to extend the subsidy regime in the petroleum law to be in line with the president’s request for an additional N2.557 trillion to cover fuel subsidy in the 2022 budget from July this year.
The present subsidy regime was expected to elapse in June 2022, in accordance with the provisions of the PIA.
Buhari, in a letter to the National Assembly dated February 10, 2022, had requested the legislature to make an additional provision for N2.557 trillion to fund petrol subsidy in the 2022 Budget Framework from July this year.
Lawan mandated the relevant Oil and Gas Committees of the National Assembly to engage the executive on a bill to amend the PIA to align with the president’s request.
He said, “This is an opportunity for me to speak to the issue of the executive sending a request for the amendment of the Petroleum Industry Act to extend the provision of the fuel subsidy, which is also requested in the amendment of the 2022 Appropriation Act.
“The Act itself says something else, that there will be no subsidy. If we approve subsidy in the 2022 Appropriation Act Amendment Bill, then it means we have to extend the period in which government will provide subsidy up to the point this subsidy we approve (N2.557 trillion) would last. So, there is need to come up with the request for amendment.
“Our Gas and Oil-related Committees should work with the executive side of government to get that sorted as soon as possible, so that what we do is appropriate, and is lawful and legal.”
The bill seeking to amend the 2022 Appropriation Act scaled Second Reading in the senate on Tuesday.
The bill, sponsored by Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), requested Senate approval for N106,161,499,052 for capital expenditures and N43,870,592,044 for recurrent without increasing budget deficit.
Buhari had accused members of the National Assembly of inserting their projects in the 2022 budget at the detriment of those initiated by the executive arm of government. He had, therefore, asked the federal lawmakers to amend the 2022 Appropriation Act passed by the National Assembly in December 2021.
Culled from THISDAY