…As senate doubts its implementation

The monthly N5,000 transportation grant which the federal government plans to give poor Nigerians would commence by June 2022 when subsidy on petrol would been completely removed.

This was explained Wednesday by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed who added that the gesture would last for one year.

The Minister stated these while speaking to newsmen after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House, Abuja

But the Senate yesterday faulted the move by the government, saying the 2022 appropriation bill under consideration by the legislature does not make provision for the N5,000 monthly transportation stipend for 40 million Nigerians being contemplated by the federal government next year.

Speaking further, Ahmed explained: “How long will this intervention last? Okay, six months to 12 months. And we’re saying the committee is still working. So, we’ll know on Monday, how long, how much and then the procedure on a state by state basis”.

She also justified the basis for the transport allowance saying: “Government is providing the support and support is to augment what the families already have. We wish we can do more. But we’re also limited in terms of the maximum of what government can afford. But there nothing’s stopping the states to add more than the N5,000 that is going to come from the federation.

“So, some states might decide to do more where they can afford it. The federal government right now is just looking, under this committee looking at N5000 per month.”

But speaking with newsmen after submission of its Committee budget proposal, Chairman of Senate Committee on Finance , Senator Olamilekan Adeola said there was no provision for N5000 monthly for 40 million Nigerians for transportation allowance in the 2022 proposed budget currently before the National Assembly.

He added that before the Executive could embark on such intervention the proposal must come to National Assembly because it was going to cost N2.4 trillion.

He wondered what criteria to be used to determine the beneficiaries of the transportation allowance.

According to him, “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 identity of the beneficiaries, this is not provided for in 2022 budget proposal which is N2.4 trillion.

“For us we still believe it is a fake news because this budget we are considering contains subsidy and if we are passing a budget with 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 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 proposal is to come to pass, a document to that effect must be sent to National Assembly for us to see how feasible this is and how do we identify the 40 million Nigerians that are going to benefit from this process.

“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 because I know that even the revenue being raised and monies that are coming in from this so called oil and other sources of revenue to the federal government.

“So, this is not provided for already in the 2022 budget. We don’t have anywhere in the budget where 40 million Nigerians will collect N5000 monthly as transportation allowance totaling 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 a news out there until it is formally come to the National Assembly for either a virement to the budget or reordering of the budget. For now, I still want to take it as a rumour until, it is formally presented before the National Assembly.”

 

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