There are strong indications that President Goodluck Jonathan is wooing senators and members of the House of Representatives to support his planned removal of subsidy on petroleum products.
Also the Senate may debate the subsidy issue today after shifting from yesterday as a result of the valedictory session held in honour of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Edwin Ume–Ezeoke.
President Jonathan’s moves were discerned yesterday when the Senate’s spokesman and Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, at a press briefing in Abuja, disclosed that lawmakers from both chambers held interactions with the presidency and the economic team to discuss the Medium Term Economic Framework (MTEF).
He said the lawmakers were particularly briefed on the subsidy issue and how its effect could be mitigated, but added that no decision or position was taken on the matter until the budget is presented by the President and deliberated on by the National Assembly.
Abaribe said, “Chairmen of Committees from both the Senate and the House of Representatives met with the President and the economic team and they had an interaction on the medium term fiscal framework for four years. We were briefed by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on what the government expects to do in the next four years in terms of the budget and there were a lot of questions and we got the perspective on what the next budget revenue profile and the budget will be.
“So, we are now going to wait for the federal government to bring the budget to the National Assembly. The essence of the briefing was to us what the parameters are and expectations of government for the next four years.