Govt blames lingering fuel scarcity on past administration
Considers new tax laws as minister orders NNPC to filling stations
THE Federal Government has blamed the immediate past administration’s defective handling of the fuel subsidy for the lingering scarcity of the product in filling stations across the country.
Besides, the government is preparing a draft review of the tax laws aimed at boosting taxes in the country.
The Council also debated and ratified the copy of the 2016 budget due to be presented before the joint session of the National Assembly by 10 a.m. today by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a joint briefing of the State House correspondents, the Ministers of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and his Budget and National Planning counterpart, Udoma, Udo Udoma said the Federal Government was working towards reviving the economy. But the ministers declined to give details of aspects of the budget, saying that the President be allowed to unveil the details of the budget.
According to Mohammed, there was a memo presented by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN seeking to review taxation laws in other to improve the legal framework and enhance the tax which was duly approved.
The second was the memo presented by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, seeking for a legal basis for the 2016 budget. “As you know, the President will be presenting the budget before the National Assembly this morning.
On the tax law, he said, “We have noticed some inadequacies in the current tax regime and these inadequacies have been exploited by both individuals and corporate organisations to evade tax, which has led to loss of revenue to the government. The review aims at plugging these loopholes.”
Udoma, who declined to give details of the review said it would be premature to talk about the format that the review would take, assured that the review would not target those at the lower rung of the ladder, but aimed at the more affluent people.
On the endless queues in filling stations, Mohammed said, “What I will be telling Nigerians about the fuel situation is that what we met on ground is such that we are paying for the sins of the last administration.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday ordered the deployment of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) staff to filling stations across the country for effective monitoring of the distribution system.
Mohammed recalled that “a fortnight ago, the Buhari administration presented a supplementary budget of N674 billion before the National Assembly out of which N522 billon was for arrears of fuel subsidy, which was incurred as far back as August last year.”
If you see any fuel anywhere today, it was imported by the NNPC. Of course the problem we also inherited, which is the vandalisation of the pipelines, has made it impossible for us to even transport the fuel.
“It has made it impossible for us to even transport the fuel. In tanks today we have 14 days reserve and off tank we have 10 days reserve. The issue is not non-availability of the product, it is the distribution, because of pipelines that have been vandalised and the gridlock in Lagos.
“It takes about five (5) days for anybody to take fuel with tanker in Lagos. As at two days ago this matter has been resolved. The Mosinmi pipeline has been secured and it has lento the improvement in the distribution.”