There is no provision for a N5,000 monthly allowance for 40 million Nigerians in the 2022 budget, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Adeola Olamilekan, has said.
The lawmaker who disclosed this to journalists Wednesday said there is still a provision for subsidy in the 2022 budget submitted by the Executive to the National Assembly.
He was reacting to an announcement made by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed.
Ms Ahmed had on Tuesday said the federal government will remove the fuel subsidy and replace it with a monthly N5,000 transport grant to poor Nigerians.
The transport grant, she explained, will target about 30 to 40 million Nigerians who make up the poorest population of the country. And available resources after the removal of fuel subsidies will determine the number of beneficiaries.
Many Nigerians have kicked against this plan. Both the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress have opposed the plan especially since negotiations are still ongoing with regards to subsidy removal.
Newsmen had reported how Nigeria spends over N102.5 billion monthly to subsidise petrol.
But the government’s plan is new to the National Assembly as no allocation was made in the 2022 budget currently before the lawmakers, Mr Adeola told journalists.
The proposal, he said, is still a rumour to him because before the Executive can embark on such intervention, a proposal will be sent to National Assembly.
The lawmaker noted that the planned intervention will cost about N2.4 trillion and there is a need for the legislature to question the criteria that would be used to determine the beneficiaries of the transportation allowance.
“I don’t want to go into details. If there is something like that, a document needs to come to National Assembly and how do they want to identify the beneficiaries. This is not provided for in the 2022 budget proposal which is N2.4 trillion.
“It’s still 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.
“The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning was quoted as saying that 40 million Nigerians will be paid N5,000 as transportation allowance, in lieu of the fuel subsidy.
“There are still a lot of issues to be deliberated upon and looked into if eventually, this will come to pass and how do we raise this money to pay these 40 million Nigerians.
“We don’t have anywhere in the budget where 40 million Nigerians will collect N5000 monthly as transportation allowance totalling N2.4 trillion.”
The lawmaker further said until there is a formal notice to the National Assembly requesting either a virement to the budget or reordering of the budget, it will be taken as a rumour.
However, the Executive can still propose an amendment to the 2022 budget proposal or submit a supplementary budget if it decides to go ahead with the subsidy removal and payment of transport allowance to poor Nigerians.