RMAFC supports fuel subsidy removal, calls for reconciliation of NNPCL claims

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BY CAROLINE AMOSUN

The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission has reaffirmed its backing for the removal of fuel subsidies, as recently announced by President Bola Tinubu.

As the regulatory body responsible for overseeing revenue accruals and disbursements from the Federation Account, the RMAFC has emphasized the urgent need to confront the challenges associated with fuel subsidies, which have impeded Nigeria’s economic growth and hindered its overall development.

Mohammed Bello Shehu, Chairman of the RMAFC, expressed deep concerns over the lack of transparency in fuel subsidy transactions and the detrimental effects of volatile global crude oil prices.

He emphasized that the continued sustenance of illusory subsidy payments at the expense of other vital sectors of the economy was no longer tenable.

Shehu drew attention to the staggering sum of N8,480,204,553,608.13 claimed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited as fuel subsidies from January 2022 to the present, which remains unresolved among the RMAFC, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, and the NNPCL.

The RMAFC Chairman recalled the commission’s consistent position on subsidy removal, dating back to the tenure of the late Hamman Tukur during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.

He applauded President Tinubu for his commitment to addressing this long-standing issue, as articulated in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2023.

Thus, Shehu emphasized the importance of eliminating fuel subsidies, highlighting the benefits it would bring in terms of transparency and the availability of funds for crucial national development projects.

These projects encompass various areas such as affordable transport systems, investment in education and healthcare, infrastructure development, and the revitalization of domestic refineries to reduce reliance on imported fuel.

While acknowledging President Tinubu’s efforts in addressing the fuel subsidy issue, Shehu urged the new administration to develop strategies to mitigate the potential impact of the new policy.

He also emphasized the importance of implementing appropriate deterrent measures against economic saboteurs who have contributed to the nation’s hardships, in accordance with existing laws.

According to the RMAFC boss, as Nigeria moves forward with the removal of fuel subsidies, the focus remains on ensuring transparency, fiscal efficiency, and redirecting freed-up funds towards sustainable development projects.

“Stakeholders across the country will closely monitor the implications of this decision as the government aims to strike a balance between the welfare of its citizens and the economic progress of the nation,” he said.