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  • Senate kicks N5,000 grant, NLC and TUC threaten showdown from November 25

The Nigeria Senate, Trade Union Congress, TUC, Nigeria Labour Congress and experts yesterday disagreed with the FG plan to remove fuel subsidy next year.

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While the Senate said there was no provision for such grant in the 2022 budget, TUC expressed shock that government could come up with this when negotiations on subsidy removal between the government and the Labour movement is still ongoing, saying it is unacceptable. The Nigerian Labour Congress on its part described the development as an open invitation for unrest and revolt.

Meanwhile, Vanguard analysis showed that the implementation of the proposed N5,000 monthly grant to 40 million Nigerians will cost the Federal Government N2.4 trillion annually, which is 81.71 percent above the average annual subsidy payment from 2016 to 2019. During the four years, the FG spent N2.93 trillion on fuel subsidies as follows: 2016 – N563.3 billion; 2017 – N144.53 billion; 2018 – N730 billion and 2019 – N1.5 trillion.

However, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said yesterday that the Federal Government has not concluded work on the proposed N5,000 transport grant, adding that the duration for the implementation will not exceed one year.


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Speaking with journalists yesterday after submission of its committee budget proposal, Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Lagos West), said that there was no provision for N5,000 monthly grant for 40 million Nigerians for transportation allowance in the 2022 budget currently before the National Assembly.

According to him, before the Executive can embark on such intervention, the proposal must come to National Assembly because it is going to cost N2.4 trillion. “What are the criteria that would be used to determine beneficiaries of the transportation allowance?”, he queried.

Adeola, who noted that the proposal was still a rumour to him as the Chairman, Committee on Finance, 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 the 2022 budget proposal, which is N2.4 trillion.

“For us, we still believe it is news because this budget we are considering contains subsidy and if we are passing a budget with the 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 N5,000 as transportation allowance, in lieu of the fuel subsidy.

Also reacting yesterday, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, rejected the transport grant, saying the government was inviting anarchy. NLC in a statement by its President, Ayuba Wabba, warned that the government was planning to set the nation on fire, contending that the government’s new position was being anchored by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, and the World Bank.

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The statement read: “A few hours ago, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kyari announced that the price of petrol could jump as high as N320 and N340 from February 2022.

The NNPC GMD/CEO said that the price increase would be consequent on the plans by the Federal Government to remove subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit also commonly referred to as petrol or fuel. The grand optimism of the NNPC GMD was predicated on the claims that the removal of the fuel subsidy is now backed by an act of parliament probably the Petroleum Industry Act which was recently signed into law.

“The response of the Nigeria Labour Congress is that what we are hearing is the conversation of the Federal government with neo-liberal international monetary institutions. The conversation between the government and the people of Nigeria especially workers under the auspices of the trade union movement on the matter of fuel subsidy was adjourned since die so many months ago. ‘’Given the nationwide panic that has trailed the disclosure of the monologue within the corridors of government and foreign interests, the Nigeria Labour Congress wishes to posit that it continues to maintain its rejection of deregulation based on import driven model.

‘’Some of the viable options that can help insulate the domestic consumers from the market pressure brought about by the free fall of the Naira by making an arrangement with contiguous refineries not far from Nigeria to swap crude oil with refined petroleum products; to accelerate work on the rehabilitation of Nigeria’s four major refineries which are all currently operating at near-zero installed capacity; and establish empirical data on the quantity of refined petroleum products consumed daily by Nigerians. ‘’It is unfortunate that this record remains a myth and a huge crater for all manner of official sleaze and leakages in the downstream petroleum sub-sector of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.”

Reacting, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, said the government’s new position on fuel subsidy was totally unacceptable, warning that the government is looking for trouble. Secretary-General of TUC, Musa Lawal, said Labour was shocked with the government pronouncement on Tuesday because it was a unilateral decision without the input of labour.

He said: “We are surprised and shocked with the government pronouncement. We do not know how the government came about it. The government is calling for trouble if they think they can go ahead with subsidy removal without labour. “The Presidential Committee made up of government representatives and Labour has not concluded its assignment. Our last meeting was in April. This new position is totally unacceptable to us.

“Let us look at the issue of N5,000 for about 40 million Nigerians. How did the government arrive at the figure? How did they determine the targeted beneficiaries? Most Nigerians are aware that similar money was given out, the identities of the beneficiaries have remained a subject of controversy and debate among Nigerians.”

Hammed Zubair Hammed Zubair

posted 2021-11-25 08:42:25

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