Reps approve Tinubu’s request for N500bn to fund palliatives

THE House of Representatives on Thursday, July 13, approved President Bola Tinubu’s request to source N500 billion from the N819.5 billion 2022 supplementary budget, to fund palliatives to cushion the impact of subsidy removal on Nigerians.

The ICIR reported that Tinubu’s request titled, ‘Request for the amendment of the 2022 appropriation act,’ was read to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, July 12, by the Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas.

The House on Thursday, July 13, approved the President’s request after contributions by members who called for proper utilisation of the funds for the purpose it was meant for.

“The request has become necessary in other to among other things source for funds necessary to provide palliatives to mitigate the effect of the recent removal of fuel subsidy on Nigerians.

“Thus the sum of N500 billion only has been extracted from the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act of N819.536 billion for the provision of palliatives to Nigerians to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal. I hope that the House of Representatives will consider the request,” part of Tinubu’s letter read.

Reacting to the letter today, the House commended the President for taking a bold step to remove fuel subsidy.

The Leader of the House of Representatives, Julius Ihonvbare, presented the request to members for debate, pushing for its approval.

The request was approved and passed by the House.

Tinubu makes new request, seeks approval of $800m loan

Similarly, Tinubu has asked the Senate to allow his administration process the $800m loan facility from the World Bank requested by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio, read Tinubu’s request at plenary on Thursday.

The ICIR had reported that Buhari requested the approval of the Senate to borrow $800 million from the World Bank to help alleviate the negative impacts of fuel subsidy removal.

However, the request was referred to the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt by the former Senate President Ahmed Lawal, but the committee did not report to the Senate till Buhari’s tenure ended on May 29.

Tinubu, re-explaining the importance in the letter, said the Federal Government of Nigeria will transfer the sum of 8,000 a month to 12 million poor and low-income households for a period of six months with a multiplier effect on about 60 million individuals.

Tinubu’s letter read: “It is with pleasure that I refer the above matter to you. Please note that the Federal Executive Council led by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR had approved an additional loan facility to the tune of USD 800 million to be secured from the world bank to finance the social safety net programme. Copy of the Federal Executive Council extract is attached here.

“You may also wish to know that the purpose of the facility is to expand coverage of shock responsive safety net support for all and vulnerable Nigerians and the cost of meeting basic needs.

“You may further wish to note that under the conditional cash transfer window of the programme, the Federal Government of Nigeria will transfer the sum of 8,000 a month to 12 million poor and low-income households for a period of six months with a multiply effect on about 60 million individuals.

“In order to guarantee the credibility of the process, digital transfers will be made directly to beneficiaries’ accounts and mobile wallets. It is expected that the programme will stimulate economic activities in the informal sector and improve nutrition, health and education outcomes for beneficial households.

“Given the above, I wish to invite the Senate to kindly grant approvals for additional loan facilities USD800milliom to be secured from World Bank for the National Social Safety Net Programme,” the letter said.

The request has, however, been referred to the Committee of the Whole for consideration on the grounds that the Senate has yet to constitute the committee on local and foreign debt.

The Federal Government had in November 2022 noted that over 133 million Nigerians are living in multidimensional poverty. 

The government, giving the figure in its latest “multi-dimensional” poverty report, said that 65 per cent of the poor (86 million people) live in the North, while 35 per cent (nearly 47 million) live in the South.

The National Multi-Dimensional Poverty (MPI) report is 0.257, meaning that poor people in Nigeria experience just over one-quarter of all possible deprivations while the poverty levels across states was vary significantly, with the incidence of the poverty ranging from a low of 27 per cent in Ondo to a high of 91 per cent in Sokoto.

The report stressed that over half of the population of Nigeria are multi-dimensionally poor and cook with dung, wood or charcoal, rather than with cleaner energy.

This data shows that should the Federal Government decide to transfer N8,000 to 60 million Nigerians (12 million households). about 73 million people living in multi-dimensional poverty won’t benefit from the plan.

Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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