The Senate on Saturday stated that reports suggesting that it plans to advice for an increase in fuel prices by N5 were untrue.
The Senate president’s media office in a release signed by Bamikole Omishore explained that the result of its deliberation was that the proposed N5 tax be incorporated into the existing price as determined by the PPPRA, and not in addition to it.
The statement read “At the Public hearing on the National Roads Fund Bill the stakeholders were unanimous on the need to access a percentage of the funds for the sustainable maintenance of roads from the pricing template of petroleum products. While the unanimity was on a percentage, opinion varied as to what percentage. Some argued for 25%, 11%, 7% and 5% of the value of the price of the product.
“This position was held strongly since most other African countries have actually implemented an average of N25 surcharge on petroleum products for the maintenance of their roads. It was the widely-held view that we may not be able to go that far in view of the economic challenges the country was going through and the need to ameliorate the suffering of the ordinary Nigerian.
“The technical committee in review of this submission determined that even at a surcharge of 5% which leaves the value at about N11 (at the current price of PMS) will be untenable not only due to implementation challenge that would require that at all times, the surcharge will mean an additional burden is placed on Nigerians beyond the cost of the petroleum product.
“Rather it was agreed that the charge be pegged at N5 (five naira) and implemented within the existing charges template rather than a calculation arrived at in addition to the price of the product.
According to him, “what the Senate has adopted is an innovative and most sensitive approach to eliminate the possibility of increasing the price of fuel in order to fund the Roads Fund. Now with what we have the charge on petroleum products for the purpose of funding road maintenance will have to be determined within the charges template as they already exist within the PPPRA template.
“It’s important therefore to make it clear that there is no ambiguity in what the Senate has done as there will be no one naira added to the current price of fuel as a result of this bill. The charge is to be accommodated within the pricing charge template in effect within the PPPRA.
“What the Senate has adopted is the minimalist approach to ensure that our roads can come back to life”.
The statement also noted that 77% of Nigerian roads are classified as dilapidated and dangerous, one of the highest in Africa. The average in Africa is 25%