Just three weeks to the end of 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan submitted a supplementary budget of N161.6 billion to the National Assembly asking for the Senate and House of Representatives’ approval for the money which is to be used for settlement of cumulated fuel subsidy arrears owed marketers. Although his demand was termed outrageous by most Nigerians, the lawmakers have approved it.
President Jonathan had on Tuesday 11th December 2012, sent the letter to the National Assembly requesting approval for an additional N161.6 billion to ensure steady supply of petroleum products during the festive season. The supplementary Appropriation Act passed the third reading at the senate, while it was given a second reading at the House of Representatives. On Thursday 13th December 2012, it was approved.
According to Channels TV, the approval followed a motion by the Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi, that the supplementary budget be given accelerated passage “in view of the emergency nature of the bill.”
Another Senator, Smart Adeyemi faulted the national economic team for the delay in the presentation of its request for additional funds.
He, however, said, “As representatives of the people, we have to support this request because it would improve the wellbeing of the masses.”
In his request to the lawmakers, President Jonathan had said the amount is to offset a backlog of money owed to fuel importers, and will help ensure a hitch-free Christmas and New Year after nearly two months of low intensity fuel scarcity.
An initial estimate of N888.3 billion was “underestimated”, the president said. Although it was reported that some members of the house kicked against the bill, it was later approved.