Tinubu’s N500bn Palliative Request Sparks Reactions

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Some Nigerians are probing why President Bola Tinubu wants the National Assembly to approve N500 billion for palliatives to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal.

In a letter addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Tajudeen Abbas, at plenary on Wednesday, Mr Tinubu said, “I write to the House of Representatives to approve the amendment of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act.”

“The request has become necessarily important to, among other things, source funds necessary to provide palliative to mitigate the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy on Nigerians.

“Thus, the sum of N500 billion only has been extracted from the 2022 Supplementary Act of N819,536,937,815 for the provision of palliative to cushion the effect of petrol subsidy removal.

“While I hope that the House of Representatives will consider this request expeditiously,” he said.

Mr Abbas, while speaking with his colleagues yesterday, said that the request would be considered on Thursday, July 13, urging members interested to prepare for the debate.

At his inauguration speech on May 29, 2023, as Nigeria’s 16th President, Mr Tinubu declared an end to the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol, which has gulped over N10 trillion in the last five years.

As a result, the pump price of the commodity jumped from about N198/litre to an average of over N500/litre across the country. This triggered a widespread increase in the cost of goods and services nationwide, including transportation costs.

Several groups and individuals have urged President Tinubu to provide palliatives for Nigerians to address these difficulties that have risen as a result of the fuel subsidy suspension.

They noted that the difficulties, if not properly managed, may put to the test the good intentions behind the removal of fuel subsidy and result in the Tinubu administration failing one of its key campaign promises.

But the request for N500 billion has elicited reactions from Nigerians, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which said proper mechanisms must be put in place to ensure transparency and accountability.

The last administration of Mr Muhammadu Buhari had a policy of distributing N5,000 as a stipend to some poor citizens, but this was questioned because it was shrouded in controversies.

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