The Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Sen. Sunny Ugbuoji, says that the outcome of ongoing Senate investigation into kerosene subsidy will determine the future of subsidies on petroleum products in the country.
Ugbuoji said this when he spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday.
He added that the investigation would show whether the Nigerian masses actually benefited from subsidies on petroleum products.
The senator said that “the whopping funds” being expended on subsidising petroleum products would have served better purpose if they were channelled into critical sectors of the nation’s economy.
“That should not be and that would not be allowed to continue. This also will give us the opportunity to decide if we truly still need subsidy or not.
“As it stands today, what is being spent on subsidy on petroleum in Nigeria is more than the capital budget of the country.
“No wonder, the economy is not being stimulated. The masses that actually need this subsidy don’t benefit from it.
“This is because some few individuals corner this money (subsidies) and use it for their personal gains,” he said.
Ugbuoji further assured Nigerians that the delay in the passage of the amendment to the Electoral Act would not affect INEC’s conduct of the 2015 general elections.
He stressed that it was legal for INEC to continue working with the existing electoral law which empowered it to conduct elections, anytime, without having to wait for the passage of the amendments.
“INEC is asking for any amendment whatsoever in the existing Electoral Act, they are not supposed to just stay there without doing anything.
“Suppose that the National Assembly is unable to conclude this bill and the National Assembly thinks otherwise that the extant laws are good enough to conduct the 2015 elections?
“So, it is good that they are asking for amendment and it’s also good that they are saying that it is better not to be taken unawares”.
The Ebonyi (PDP) lawmaker also observed that the spate of defections by members of the National Assembly was part of democracy, so long as it was done in accordance with the law.
He urged some members of the National Assembly who want to defect to other parties to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Constitution which they swore to uphold at all times.
“What is happening now is what is expected in a pre-election year because politicians are looking for where to survive.
“So, what one would insist is that it should be done within the ambit of the law. It is a matter of the Constitution which we all swore to uphold.
He said that there would be more defections as the primaries approach because many politicians would be seeking platforms to get nomination for elective offices.