From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-rufai, yesterday, disclosed that the Federal Government plans to spend N6 trillion on fuel subsidy for six months, N4 trillion to subsidize the naira and N300 billion to subsidize electricity in 2023.
This is as the governor lamented that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has not remitted anything to the federation account since the last quarter of 2021, forcing the country to depend mainly on import duties and taxes as revenue allocation shared by the three tiers of government.
He said dwindling revenues has forced states’ governments to re-prioritise their spendings, while cutting down expenses accordingly.
Addressing the 12th Kaduna State Council on Health Meeting at the Murtala Mohammed Square in Kaduna, the Kaduna governor said his government was working hard to achieve its goal of making healthcare affordable and accessible to the people.
He, however, said this cannot be done without cash backing, pointing out that the state is depending on the little amount that comes from the federation account and its internally generated revenue to meet its expenses.
“This year, the Federal Government will spend N6 trillion on fuel subsidy, 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 per cent of electricity supply. We have exchange rate of N400 to a dollar, but if you want to buy 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. Since the last quarter of 2021, the NNPC has not remitted a dime to the federation account because they are paying subsidy. We have depended only on import duties and taxes,” he said.
The Kaduna governor said Nigerians had a choice to make on the cost of the subsidies and stop being hypocritical.
He said the goal of the state government was 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 Center to help tackle the menace of cancer and serve as a source of medical tourism. A second cancer center is being built in the vicinity of Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital in Kaduna. We have built a 136-bed infection center in Mando and we are building 10 to 30-bed isolation center in all our general hospitals in preparation for the next infectious disease outbreak.”