In a letter read at plenary in the two houses of the National Assembly on July 12, 2023, President Bola Tinubu requested the amendment of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act of N819.5 billion, to authorise the issuance of N500 billion to provide palliatives to Nigerians to cushion the effect of the petrol subsidy removal. The Federal Government plans to distribute the fund to 12 million households over a period of six months. The amendment seeks to repurpose the sum of N500 billion out of the N819.5 billion 2022 Supplementary Budget which was originally appropriated mainly for the purpose of fixing critical infrastructure affected by flooding that ravaged parts of the country in 2022.
It will be recalled that the period for implementation of components of the Supplementary Budget was initially extended from 31 December 2022 to March 31, 2023, and again to June 30 and extended for a third time to December 31, 2023. The amendment to the Act, to repurpose funds for petrol subsidy removal palliatives, was read for the Third Time and passed by the two Houses of the National Assembly on Thursday, July 13.
2022 Supplementary Budget Summary
- Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – N69,247,175,770
- Federal Ministry of Works and Housing – N704,789,762,043
- Federal Capital Territory Administration – N30,000,000,000
- Federal Ministry of Water Resources – N15,500,000,000
Aggregate – N819,536,937,813
Amended 2022 Supplementary Budget Summary
- Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. – N19,000,000,000
- Federal Ministry of Works and Housing – N185,236,937,815
- Federal Capital Territory Administration – N10,000,000,000
- Federal Ministry of Water Resources – N100,000,000
- Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning – N500,000,000,000
- National Assembly – N70,000,000,000
- National Judicial Council – N35,000,000,000
Aggregate – N819,336,937,815
The specific purpose of the funds appropriated to each institution under the amended budget is unclear.
The amendment of the 2022 Supplementary Budget has raised questions among citizens. While some observers question the propriety of amending a 2022 budget in the middle of the 2023 financial year, others wonder why funds initially proposed to address the impact of the flooding are being repurposed as palliatives to cushion the impact of subsidy removal. As with previous government palliative or so-called empowerment programmes, the metrics for identification of beneficiaries, mode of distribution, transparency and potential impact of this new ‘fuel subsidy removal’ palliative scheme are under scrutiny.
Also, the Senate considered and approved President Tinubu’s request to secure a loan of $800 million from the World Bank as additional funding for the Federal Government’s National Social Safety Net Programme. The House of Representatives on its part, constituted an ad-hoc Committee on Aid, Loans and Debt Management chaired by Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Julius Ihonvbere and referred the President’s request to the Committee for consideration.