Motorists and commuters yesterday kicked against the proposal by the Senate to effect a N5 levy, chargeable per litre, on every petrol and diesel products imported into the country and on other non-locally refined petroleum products.
The Red Chamber said the N5 charges will be a source of revenue generation for funding and maintenance of roads in the country.
But road users, including motorists, commuters and motorcyclists in the country described the plan to effect the N5 levy on petrol and diesel an unhealthy development, which if implemented, would cause untold hardship to them.
This, they argued, is coming at a time the country is still enmeshed in recession, even as the government is yet to come up with any concrete plan for economic stability.
Those who spoke to StateReporters News on Thursday in Enugu the proposed legislation said the development automatically translates to the fact that there will be more trouble for Nigerians as their suffering will heighten.
The bill titled, ‘National Roads Fund’ was to be presented by the Senate committee chairman on Works, Senator Kabiru Gaya, but was stepped down at the last minute.
The National Roads Fund, (EST.ETC) Bill 2017 (S.B218), makes it mandatory that fuel levy of N5 is chargeable per liter on any volume of petrol and diesel products imported into the country and on locally refined products.
If it sails through to become law, the bill will evolve into additional source of revenue for the National Roads Funds, just as it will also provide a predictable and sustainable funding for road management network.
The Senate noted that “inappropriate funding for the management of road infrastructure leads to premature failure of assets and results in increased construction costs for routine and periodic maintenance”.
If the proposed plan by the Senate unfolds into a reality, a litre of petrol which currently sells at N145 may be scaled up to between N150 and N155 per litre.
The bill signed by 12 out of the 15 members of the Senate committee on works chaired by Senator Gaya (APC Kano South) recommends a road fund solution to mitigate some of the insufficiency and unpredictability of funding in the maintenance of roads.
According to him, while the masses are faced with varied challenges, especially the instability to meet the cost of living, the proposal, if effected, will not be a good development to enhance the welfare of Nigerians.
Emeka said, “If there is any plan to increase charges on petrol, that will be unhealthy. We members of the masses, especially motorists are struggling to survive and any further increase will add to the already deteriorating economic situation. The motorists are feeling the hardship and we are not comfortable with the development”.