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Senate says N5k transport grant not in 2022 budget, counters finance minister

The Senate on Wednesday said there is no provision of N5, 000 transportation grant for 40 million poor Nigerians in the 2022 budget.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola Olamilekan disclosed this to journalist at the National Assembly complex, Abuja.

Recall that the minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed had said the country would remove petrol subsidy by 2022 and replace it with a N5000-a-month transportation grant to the poorest Nigerians.

Reacting to this, Senator Olamilekan said the 2022 budget proposals presented to the national assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari contains provision for subsidy.

He said a proposal has to be sent to the national assembly for a provision to be made for 40 million poor citizens.

Olamilekan said, “We still believe this is news because this budget we are considering contains subsidy.

“If we are passing a budget with subsidy in the fiscal document, we cannot 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 N5,000 as transportation allowance, in lieu of the fuel subsidy.

“I don’t want to go into details for now. I believe that if such a proposal is to come to pass, a document to that effect must be sent to the 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.

“This is not provided for already in the 2022 budget we don’t have anywhere in the budget where 40 million Nigerians will collect N5 000 monthly as transportation allowance totaling about N2.4 trillion.

“I know that there must be a budgetary provision for this for us to consider. That is why I said it is still 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 news.”