Nigeria plans to spend N6trn on fuel subsidy this year — El-Rufai

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai said yesterday that Nigeria planned to spend N6 trillion on fuel subsidies for six months, N4 trillion to subsidize the naira, and N300 billion on electricity subsidies in 2023.

The governor said during the 12th Kaduna State Council on Health Meeting in Kaduna that the N6 trillion on fuel subsidy, which was a quarter of the budget, was more than the entire state and local government budget for health this year.

According to him, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has not remitted any funds to the federation account since the fourth quarter of 2021, forcing Nigeria to rely primarily on import duties and taxes as revenue allocations shared by the three tiers of government.

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He said the dwindling revenue had forced states to re-prioritize their spending and cut expenses.

Governor El-Rufai explained that the Kaduna State government “is working hard to achieve its goal of making healthcare affordable and accessible to the people, but this cannot be done without cash backing.”

He said the state was managing by depending on the little amount that came from the federation account and its Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.

“Our goal is to achieve Universal Health Coverage for all residents. We hope to complete the 300-bed specialist hospital in Millennium City in the second quarter with a Nuclear Medicine Centre to help tackle the menace of cancer and serve as a source of medical tourism.

“A second cancer centre is being built in the vicinity of Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital in Kaduna. We have built a 136-bed infection centre in Mando and we are building 10 to 30-bed isolation centres in all our general hospitals in preparation for the next infectious disease outbreak.

“We have to make choices as a country and as a people and stop being hypocritical. Since the last quarter of 2021, the NNPCL has not remitted a dime to the federation account because they are paying a subsidy. We have depended only on import duties and taxes.

“This year, the Federal Government will spend N6 trillion on fuel subsidies, which is a quarter of the budget. This is more than the entire budget of states and local governments on health this year.

“We spent N300 billion per annum to subsidize electricity which we hardly get. We are subsidizing 50% of the electricity supply. We have an exchange rate of N400 for a dollar but if you want to buy a dollar across the road at Hamdala Hotel, it costs N700.

“Some people would buy at N400 and sell at N700 costing us about N4 trillion per annum, that is one-sixth of the entire budget, which is more than the entire budget of education.

“We cannot carry out projects without cash backing but what is our source of income? Federal allocation and internally generated revenue. There are two million people in Kaduna that are employed and 100,000 of them are civil servants.

“If we ask them to pay N10,000 per month each or N100,000 per annum we raise N200 billion as internally generated revenue, which is more than our capital budget for this year.

“We have to talk to ourselves. When we came in we had less than 150 doctors in the health system across the state, but today we have double that figure,” the governor said.

 

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