Sunday, November 28, 2021

FG lied, no provision for N5000 transport stipend in 2022 budget: Senate

The lawmakers said the disclosure by the executive was suspicious since the 2022 budget proposal already made provisions for fuel subsidy.

• November 25, 2021
President Muhammadu Buhari, Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila
President Muhammadu Buhari, Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila

The Senate has dismissed the claim by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, that the federal government was budgeting N5000 monthly transportation allowance for 40 million Nigerians, saying it is not aware of such arrangement in the 2022 budget.

Solomon Adeola Olamilekan, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, told journalists on Wednesday at the National Assembly complex, after the committee budget proposal was submitted to the Senate Committee on Appropriation.

“I don’t want to go into details, if there is something like that, a document needs to come to the National Assembly and how do they want to identify the identity of the beneficiaries, this is not provided for in the 2022 budget proposal which is N2.4 trillion,” Mr Olamilekan said.

Speaking further, he said, “For us, we still believe it is a news because this budget we are considering contains subsidy and if we are passing a budget with a subsidy in the fiscal document, we can’t speak because that is the document that is currently before us.”

On Tuesday, Mrs Ahmed said that Nigerians would from next year receive N5,000 per month as a transportation grant after the removal of fuel subsidies.

The finance minister disclosed the Buhari-led regime’s intention to remove fuel subsidies by 2022 and give the poorest Nigerians a transportation grant of N5,000.

However, Mr Olamilekan has now dismissed this as a rumour, raising concerns as to how the 40 million beneficiaries of the transportation allowance would be identified. 

Between 2016 and 2019, Nigeria spent N2.93 trillion on fuel subsidies.

A breakdown saw N563.3 billion allocated for subsidies on petrol in 2016, N144.53 billion in 2017, N730 billion in 2018 and an alarming N1.5 trillion in 2019.

The implementation of the proposed N5,000 monthly grant to 40 million Nigerians will cost N2.4 trillion annually, a 81.71 per cent increase in the amount spent between 2016 and 2019.

The announcement by the finance minister sparked criticism from the Nigeria Labour Congress, which rejected the proposed N5,000 grant.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, accused the Buhari-led government of arriving at its conclusion on subsidy removal without consulting concerned stakeholders.

Mr Wabba said the organised labour body will continue to reject the deregulation of petroleum products prices.

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