The Senate has said it was not aware of the provision for N5,000 monthly for 40 million Nigerians as a transportation allowance in the 2022 budget.
Senator representing Lagos West and Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola Olamilekan disclosed this to journalists on Wednesday at the National Assembly complex, shortly after submitting his Committee budget proposal before the Senate Committee on Appropriation.
Checks revealed that Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed had said the federal government would make the sum of N5,000 available to Nigerians, effective from next year to mitigate the economic hardship envisaged in the plan to increase the price of Premium Motor Spirit,( PMS) otherwise called petrol.
But Senator Olamilekan dismissed the disclosure by the Minister of Finance as a mere rumour as he submitted that there was no such provision for the 40 million Nigerians in next year’s budget.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker wondered how such an official pronouncement that would cost the nation N2.4 trillion was not accommodated in the Budget.
He also expressed strong reservations about the criteria that would be deployed to identify the 40 million beneficiaries of the transportation allowance.
He said: “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 news because this budget we are considering contains subsidy and if we are passing a budget with a 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 formally comes 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 and as a news until it is formally presented before the National Assembly.”
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