As the media space has continued to be awash with news that the Federal Government will remove petroleum subsidy halfway into next year, the Senate Committee on Finance has disclosed that the N5000 transport grant for 40 million poor Nigerians has not been captured in the year 2022 budget under consideration. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed had made some revelation that the Federal Government is planning to pay a token of N5000 as palliatives to cushion the hardship that will come with the removal of fuel subsidy.
However, the Senate Committee on Finance disclosed that though the year 2022 budget proposal contains fuel subsidy but not the N5000 transport palliative grant as hinted by the Minister which will amount to N2.4tr as against the N1.8tr for subsidy.
Senator Adeola olamilekan Solomon, the Chairman Committee made this known while addressing newsmen shortly after presenting his committee report on the 2022 budget appropriation.
Solomon said that before the Executive arm would embark on such an intervention project like this, a proposal would have been captured and sent to the National Assembly for consideration.
The Senator also raised observation of how the selection criterion of the poorest Nigerians is conducted.
He said, “The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning was quoted to have said that 40 million Nigerians would be paid N5000 as transportation allowance in lieu of the fuel subsidy.
“I don’t want to go into details for now. I believe that if such a proposal is to come to pass, a document to that effect must be sent to National Assembly for us to see how possible it is and how do we identify the 40 million Nigerians that are going to benefit.
“There are still a lot of issues to be deliberated upon and looked into if eventually, this will come to pass. How do we raise this money to pay these 40 million Nigerians because I know that even the federal government revenues are from this so-called oil and other sources?
Olamilekan continued, “We don’t have anywhere in the budget where 40 million Nigerians will collect N5000 monthly as transportation allowance totalling N2.4 trillion.
“I know that there must be a budgetary provision for this for us (National Assembly) to consider. That is why I said it is still news out there until it is formally sent to the National Assembly for either a virement to the budget or reordering of the budget.”