Senate approves N500 billion for subsidy removal palliatives

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By Iyojo Ameh——Abuja

The Senate, has approved President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s N500 billion request for provisions of palliatives for Nigerians, as a result of the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government.

The Senate while approving the money, allocated the sum of N70 billion for the National Assembly, claiming that the purpose of this money was to support the working conditions of new members of the apex legislative Assembly.

President Tinubu had requested the Senate to amend the 2022 supplementary Appropriation Act, to accommodate N500 billion for provisions of palliatives for Nigerians, to cushion the effect od the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government.

Accordingly, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, during the plenary session yesterday, read the letter on the floor of the the Red Chamber.

Tinubu had clarified in the letter, that the request became imperative, to enable the government provide palliatives for Nigerians to cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy.

The letter reads, “I write to request for the amendment of the 2022 supplementary appropriation act. The request became necessary among others things, to source for funds to provide necessary palliatives to mitigate the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy on Nigerians.

“Thus, the sum of N500 billion only has been extracted from the 2022 supplementary appropriation act of N819 billion, 536 million, 937 thousand 803 naira only for the provisions of palliatives for Nigerians to cushion the effects of subsidy removal”, Tinubu said.

Tinubu implored the Senate to give his request “expeditious” consideration and approval to enable his administration to provide palliatives for Nigerians.

The President of the Senate, after reading the letter, referred the request to the Committee of the Whole, as substantive Committees have not been constituted.

President Tinubu had on May 29, 2023, announced the removal of fuel subsidy.

The President disclosed this in his inaugural speech as the new President of Nigeria. According to him, “Subsidy has gone, subsidy can no longer justify its ever increasing costs in the wake of drying resources.

“We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, healthcare and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions,” he stated.

In a prompt response to the President’s letter, the Senate hurriedly approved the request, as it suspended relevant sections of its Standing Rules, to pass the amendment bill to the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act, through First, Second and Third Reading the same day.

A breakdown of the N500 billion palliatives is as follows: N185,236,937,815 was allocated to the Ministry of Works and Housing to alleviate the impact of the severe flooding experienced in the country in 2022 on road infrastructure across the 6 geopolitical zones.

The sum of N19,200,000,000 was allocated to Federal Ministry of Agriculture to ameliorate the massive destruction to farmlands across the country during the severe flooding experienced last year.

Also, N35 billion was allocated to National Judicial Council while N10 billion was allocated to Federal Capital Territory Administration for critical projects.

Finally, the Senate while amending the Act, allocates N70 billion to the National Assembly, claiming that the aim was to support the working conditions of new members of the legislative Assembly.

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