Subsidy removal: Tinubu writes NASS, seeks N500bn for palliatives

PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu has sought an amendment to the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act via a letter addressed to the National Assembly.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas read the President’s letter titled, ‘Request for the amendment of the 2022 appropriation act,’ at plenary on Wednesday, July 12

Tinubu, in the letter, said the amendment was to allow the Federal Government to source N500 billion from the N819.5 billion 2022 supplementary budget.

This request is coming a few weeks after the President announced that his administration would not continue paying for petrol subsidy.

Days after Tinubu declared that subsidy has been removed, the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCLtd) officially increased the pump price of petrol by about 200 per cent.

The development, however, led to an astronomical hike in the cost of basic goods and services.

In the letter addressed to the National Assembly, the President said the palliative is to cushion the effect of the removal of subsidy.

Parts of the letter read: “I write to request the approval of the House of Representatives for the amendment of the 2022 supplementary appropriation act in accordance with the attached.

“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.”

Recall that the Federal Government under the former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, secured $800 million from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), as part of its post-subsidy palliative plans. 

    This was disclosed by the former Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, on April 5 after a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

    Ahmed said the $800 million from the World Bank will form the first tranche of palliatives and will be disbursed to 10 million households considered to be most vulnerable.

    “There is a provision in the Petroleum Industry Act that says 18 months after the effectiveness of the PIA that all petroleum products must be deregulated. That 18 months takes us to June 2023.”

    Also, the minister had in 2022, while addressing the House of Representatives, said the government will stop subsidy payments in June 2023.

    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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