Indication emerged yesterday that President Goodluck Jonathan and the Senate have set out on a collision course regarding whether fuel subsidy regime should be sustained or discontinued forthwith.
This is even as the upper chamber directed the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) to respectively refund the unremitted sum of $480 million and $447 million to the federation account.
This imminent disagreement between the executive and the legislature became glaring when the Senate debated the alleged missing $20 billion and the recommendations by the probe panel.
Recall that President Jonathan had in a media chat recently, said that his government will remove fuel subsidy if he is convinced that it is the right thing to do, provided he consulted with stakeholders.
Similarly, the Minister for Petroleum, Diezani Aloson-Madueke, had also, while briefing journalists in Abuja, alluded to Jonathan’s position when she said that the subsidy regime is not sustainable, even though she promised that adequate campaigns would be carried out before it is removed.
However, during the debate, the lawmakers stoutly rejected the recommendation by the Ahmed Makarfi-led probe panel that the subsidy policy should be discontinued with immediately.
The senators rather, criticized President Jonathan for failure to fix the corrupt practices in the subsidy policy, arguing that subsidy on petroleum is the last benefit to the poor Nigerians.
Meanwhile, all other recommendations by the Makarfi panel was adopted by the senate, except the recommendation for removal of subsidy on petrol.