President Bola Tinubu has unveiled plans by his administration to transfer N8,000 to 12 million poor and vulnerable households for a period of six months to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.
According to him, the disbursement of the loan is to expand coverage of shock responsive safety net supports for all and vulnerable Nigerians and the cost of meeting basic needs.
This was contained in his letter to the Senate read by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, at plenary, yesterday.
It was a resubmission of the request of former president, Muhammadu Buhari’s $800 million World Bank loan request to the Senate to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.
On May 10, 2023, 19 days to the end of his administration, Buhari had sent the same request to the National Assembly, but the Ahmad Lawan-led Senate refused to approve the loan before it adjourned indefeintately in June.
Part of the letter read: “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 N8,000 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. 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.
“Giving the above, I wish to invite the senate to kindly grant approvals for additional loan facilities $800 million to be secured from World Bank for the national social safety net programme. While hoping that this submission will receive a expeditiously consideration by the Senate, please accept distinguish senate president and distinguish members the assurances of my highest regards.”
In the absence of standing committees, the Senate referred the request to the committee of the whole.
Senate Majority Leader, Bamidele Opeyemi in his lead debate said the bill seeks to amend the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act, to authorise issuance of N500 billion for the provision of palliatives to Nigerians, to cushion effect of fuel subsidy removal.
Presenting further insight on the bill, Deputy Senate President, Barau Jubril, said the 2022 supplementary budget was passed and assented to by the administration of former president Buhari.
Senate having suspended its rule 78 (1) read the bill for second and thereafter having engaged in clause by clause consideration passed the bill.
Summary of the amended 2022 supplementary appropriation act includes among others, N500 billion for palliatives and other capital expenditure to cushion the effect of recent subsidy removal policy, N185.2 billion to Ministry of Works and Housing to alleviate the impact of the severe flooding experienced in the country in 2022 on road infrastructure across the six geopolitical zones, N19.2 billion to Federal Ministry of Agriculture to ameliorate the massive destruction to farmlands across the country during the severe flooding experienced last year.
Others are N35 billion to National Judicial Council, N10 billion to Federal Capital Territory Administration for critical projects, and N70 billion to National Assembly to support the working conditions of new members.