The House of Representatives has passed a bill to make provision for N500b palliatives to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians.
The bill passed through both second and third readings after clause-by-clause consideration by the Committee of Supply, Chaired by the Speaker, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas at plenary on Thursday
The amendment bill is a sequel to a request by President Bola Tinubu to the House on Wednesday to extract N500b from the 2022 supplementary budget to provide palliatives for subsidy removal.
The legislation was titled “A Bill for an Act to Authorize the issuance of the sum of (N500, 000, 000, 000.00) five hundred billion, Naira, only from the 2022 Supplementary Appropriations of (N819, 536, 937, 815.00) only for the provisions of palliatives to Nigerians to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal”.
The Leader of the House, Professor Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo) moved that the bill be read for the second time and he was seconded by the Minority Leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers).
Leading debate on the general principles of the bill, Ihonvbere said, since the removal of fuel subsidy, there have been calls on the government to provide some measures to cushion the effects.
He said many members have also moved motions calling for the provision of palliatives and the government has listened to the concerns the executive bill was in response to the cries of the people.
“In a situation where policies are taken leading to expected and unexpected consequences, the government has to find means to address the challenges brought by the policy. With the president’s request for funds, Nigerians are waiting to hear from the parliament with so much expectations.
On his part, Hon. Ahmed Jaha (APC, Borno) commended President Tinubu for taking the bull by its horns by removing the fuel subsidy which other administrations could do due to fear of losing popularity or any other flimsy reasons.
“It is good to provide funds in order to provide palliatives to Nigerians who are hard hit by the effect of fuel subsidy removal. “The funds provided should be used for the purpose intended not as it has been the practice before when monies appropriated for a purpose are diverted to other areas or ourightly stolen, he said.
Similarly, the leader of the opposition, Chinda supported the quick passage of the bill, considering its positive intentions but cautioned against the improper implementation of the palliative programs.
“As those who speak for the Nigerian people we have actually asked for palliatives on the floor of this chamber. Mr Speaker my dear colleagues, the bill before us is one I believe we will pass with the speed of light.
However, Mr Speaker, we are also aware as Nigerians that when we talk of palliatives, sometimes we see handouts being given to Nigerians which will end up not having the effect and purpose of palliatives. We commend Mr. President for being responsive to the resolutions of this House by promptly requesting this money for palliatives for Nigerians.
The President explained in the letter that: “Under the Conditional Cash Transfer of the program, the Federal Government of Nigeria will transfer N8000 per month to 12 million poor and low-income households for a period of six months with a multiplier effect on about 6 million Nigerians.”