Written by Sarah NEGEDU

RMFAC backs Buhari on fuel subsidy removal

The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, has commended the federal government’s decision to remove subsidy on petroleum products, describing the subsidy policy as a financial burden that Nigeria must urgently discard.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in his 2016 budget presentation hinted plans to remove subsidy, when he attributed the prolong fuel scarcity to activities of some market speculators and resistance to change by some stakeholders, which he promise to check.

Over N1trillion was spent on subsidy on fuel in 2015. The minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, had earlier in December announced N407billion subsidy claims to oil marketers, part of which was arrears from the 2014 financial year as well payments for the current year.

A statement from the RMAFC’s Head of Public Relations, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed, said the commission welcomed the development noting it was time subsidy was totally removed since the intended targets, the poor and middle income class, were often denied its benefits.

The commission lauded the bold and courageous steps taken by the president on subsidy removal, saying when implemented it will drastically reduce pressure on the revenue profile of the country just as it will free additional funds for the execution of developmental projects that would have direct bearing on the masses.

The World Bank Group had also advised the administration to immediately end the subsidy regime, saying it is high time Nigeria ended the practice since the global crude oil price is at its lowest level.

The bank, in its latest Economic Report on Africa, projected that by 2018, the total spending on fuel subsidy would have consumed about 30percent of Nigeria’s entire oil earnings if the current regulated prices are maintained.

On the 2016 budget, the commission said it is fully organised and mobilised to complement the efforts of the federal government in its effective implementation by beefing up revenue generation from diverse revenue sources and ensuring timely remittances by all revenue generating agencies into the Federation Account for the rapid development of the country.

The spokesman observe that beyond mobilising revenue from traditional sources, namely oil and gas and the non-oil sector, the RMAFC is aimed at boosting the revenue base of the nation and reducing overdependence on oil revenue by states and local governments despite the     abundance of human and natural resources in the country which is the bane of national economic development.

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