President Bola Tinubu has written to the National Assembly seeking an amendment to the 2022 supplementary appropriation act to source N500 billion for palliatives to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal in Nigeria.
The president’s letter was read on the floor of the House of Representatives by the speaker, Tajudeen Abbas, during plenary on Wednesday. According to the letter, the fund is needed to mitigate the impact of petrol subsidy removal on the citizens, especially the poor and vulnerable.
The letter stated that the N500 billion would be extracted from the 2022 supplementary appropriation act of N819.5 billion, which was passed by the National Assembly in June. The supplementary budget was mainly for security, health and humanitarian interventions.
The president appealed to the federal lawmakers to expedite consideration of his request, saying it was in the best interest of the nation. He said the removal of fuel subsidy was inevitable and necessary to free up funds for infrastructure development and social welfare.
The speaker said the House would consider the president’s request at plenary on Thursday. He urged his colleagues to give it due attention and support.
The president’s request came amid public outcry and protests over the removal of fuel subsidy, which led to a hike in petrol price from N162 per litre to N256 per litre in May. Many Nigerians have lamented the hardship and suffering caused by the subsidy removal, which also triggered inflation and increased transport fares.
Some civil society groups and opposition parties have called on the president to reverse his decision or resign, accusing him of being insensitive and anti-people. They argued that the subsidy removal was ill-timed and unjustified, given the economic situation in the country.
However, the president has defended his action, saying it was a tough but necessary decision to save the country from economic collapse. He said the subsidy regime was unsustainable and prone to corruption, adding that it only benefited a few elites at the expense of millions of Nigerians.
He said his administration was committed to providing palliatives and social safety nets to cushion the effect of subsidy removal on Nigerians. He also assured that his government would ensure transparency and accountability in the management of the funds saved from subsidy removal.