Sunday, 4 June 2017

Road fund bill won’t attract fuel price increase ―Saraki

Road fund bill won’t attract fuel price increase ―Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki

Contrary to interpretations on a recommendation by the Senate committee on Works over the proposed National Road Fund Bill, the Senate President, Dr.  Bukola Saraki, has said that the bill will not lead to any increase in the current price of fuel.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin at the weekend after breaking of fast, Saraki said that the report of the Senate committee which worked on the Bill came from deliberations during a public hearing in which all stakeholders made different suggestions on how to generate funds for maintenance of the nation’s road network.

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He, however, said that there was a consensus on the desirability of the Fund and the need to ensure that the money to be generated from sale of fuel for the fund should be accommodated within the current price regime.

“There is a Bill called the National Road Funds Bill. Our roads around the country are not adequately funded. If we are banking on the appropriations process, we will not be able to adequately fund and refurbish our roads.”

“Anybody that read the full report would have known that after the public hearing, which involved stakeholders from the road and transport industry, it was recommended that five naira from each litre of petrol should be channelled towards our roads.

However, this is not going to be additional five naira, but five naira out of the present price of N145 that Nigerians are currently paying at the pump,” he said.

Saraki, who said that the recommendations came from engagement with stakeholders at the public hearing on the bill, added that “one of the conditions attached to the new charges by all stakeholders was that this five naira should not be an increase, but come from what is already existing.

It is believed that the existing charges in the present price regime would be reduced to accommodate the five naira Road Fund bill.”

“Nigerians should be reassured that although we have not even debated these recommendations, the committees report came with a clear proviso that the five naira should come from a restructuring of the existing template, which is reshuffling the taxes in the current N145 — so that five naira out of this will always be pushed to develop existing roads and build new ones,” he said.

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