Nigerian lawmakers propose fuel levy of 5 naira to fix bad roads


    ABUJA, June 2  – A Nigerian parliamentary committee has proposed a marginal increase in petrol prices to help fund badly needed road repairs in the West African nation, according to a document seen by Naija247news.

    Raising fuel prices is politically sensitive in Nigeria where many people are struggling amid the first economic recession in a quarter of a century and with annual inflation hitting 17.24 percent in April.

    The Senate Committee on Works has recommended a fuel levy of 5 naira ($0.0159) per litre on imported and locally produced petrol to fix roads in Nigeria, according to the proposal approved on Thursday.

    The government last year increased gasoline prices to 145 naira a litre as it struggled to fund capped prices amid a steep devaluation of the naira currency and low oil prices.

    The Senate has yet to debate the motion which would also have to be approved by the lower chamber, the House of Representatives.

    The government has proposed a record 7.44 trillion naira budget for 2017 that includes increasing capital expenditure by a quarter to fix pot-holed roads, overhaul railways and improve power supply.

    But funding has proved difficult due to low oil prices. Talks with the World Bank over a loan have stalled over a lack of required economic reforms, diplomats say.

    Parliament approved the 2017 budget on May 11 but a government official said this week talks were still ongoing with lawmakers before Acting President Yemi Osinbajo could sign it into law. President Muhammadu Buhari is in Britain for medical treatment.

    ($1 = 314.5000 naira)

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