SENATE FUEL TAX BILL:Nigerians vow to resist any increase in fuel price
Condemnations and anger have trailed Senate proposed introduction of N5 tax per litre of petrol, as well as on diesel, sold in Nigeria.
The issue , if not well handled may spark off some resistance as Nigerians see the plan as an indirect way of increasing the pump price of fuel in the country.
But the Senate Committee on Works in its final report on the bill titled ‘National Roads Fund (Establishment, etc) Bill 2017’ is proposing that the end users of petroleum products will start paying tax on every litre of fuel bought at any fuel station, apart from other sundry charges on road users.
The Committee’s chairman on, Senator Kabiru Gaya in his report also advocated implementation of a special 0.5 percent levy on commercial vehicle passengers’ fares, all in a bid to raise money to pay for road construction and maintenance.
But the organised labour, students and others have said they would resist any attempt by government to indirectly or otherwise introduce a hike in the bump price of fuel, given the economic hardship in the country.
Comrade Tunde Aremu of the Trade Union Congress(TUC) described the plan as coup against the masses of Nigeria , who have bern subjected into all manner of hardship by the government.
“We will not tolerate another hike in fuel price, irrespective of what name it is tagged.
” Inflation is reducing the purchasing power of an average Nigerian , there is no job in the land , and the best law the legislators could make now is to introduce higher petroleum products tax, the organised labour is watching.’
Also, the Secretary General of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Mr. Kahiru Mohammed ,who described the proposal as anti people’s bill , called on members of both chambers of the parliament not to give it approval.
“Members of the National Assembly should firstly sample the views of their constituencies before delineating on such bill, which to us (students) is not going to be allowed to be part of the additional suffering of the people of this country.”
But some opinion leaders care of the view that if the petroleum tax is to introduced ,consulting all interest groups should have been the first thing to be done .
But the senators have insisted that the proposal, being part of the 11 economic reform bills, initiated by the Bukola Saraki-led Senate as contribution to economic recovery of the country, is expected to be endorsed by the House of Representatives.
The bill made provisions for nine sources for revenue generation venues to include : fuel levy of five naira chargeable per litre on any volume of petrol and diesel products imported into Nigeria and on locally refined petroleum products; axle load control charges.
Others are: toll fees (a percentage not exceeding 10% of any revenue paid as user charge per vehicle on any federal road designated as a toll road (this is not applicable to PPP roads); international vehicle transit charges; inter-state mass transit user charge of 0.5% deductible from the fare paid by passengers to commercial mass transit operators on inter-state roads; roads fund surcharge of 0.5% chargeable on the assessed value of any vehicle imported at any time into Nigeria.
It will also involve lease, license or other fees which shall be 10% of the revenue accruing from lease or license or other fees pertaining to non-vehicular road usages along any federal road and collected by the federal roads agency and grants and loans: and gifts of land, money or other property and gifts of land, money or other property.
The bill further stated that the National Roads Fund will be established with high levels of independence under the jurisdiction of the Federal Ministry of Finance which will only oversee the fund for policy direction.
It shall as well set aside an amount not exceeding 3% of the total monies accruing to it in the preceding year as administrative fund.