By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The House of Representatives has backed President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s resolve to engage with stakeholders to fashion out the best way to handle the Federal Government’s palliatives intended to cushion the impact of the fuel subsidy removal in Nigeria.
The House, after considering a motion sponsored by Rt. Honourable Dennis Nnamdi Agbo of Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency of Enugu State, voted for the setting up of Ad-hoc committee to collate the views of House members, Civil Society Organizations, organized labour, and members of the public, to guide the government in the implementation.
Honourable Agbo who was elected into the House on the platform of the Labour Party had in the motion titled; ‘Need for More Engagement to Choose the Best and Acceptable Palliative Option for Nigerians after the removal of fuel Subsidy, urged his colleagues to go beyond the approval of the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Acts by ensuring wider engagement of stakeholders to select the most acceptable and most effective palliative options that will deliver the needed relief and succour to Nigerians.
The House, he said should be concerned about how little the proposed monthly cash hound-out of N8,000 could achieve for a selected household of 5 members under the current price regime. He equally stressed that the cumulative cash transfer, ‘if not supported by increased output, could trigger inflationary pressure that could spiral out of hand, and become motion without movement for both the beneficiaries and for the generality of Nigerian people’.
Further in his lead debate, Honourable Agbo suggested that the palliatives should focus on other non cash measures such as security of farmers, favourable operating environment for businesses, mass-transit support, increased access to social amenities like education and healthcare, and rehabilitation of road infrastructure, which would be of universal benefits and greater impact, rather than the cash hand-out for only the scoped population.
He noted that, ‘at the moment, suppressed output rather than purchasing power is the main challenge that the masses have had to contend with under a regime of rising costs of goods and services’.
Honourable Agbo however acknowledged the prompt response of Mr President in setting up of the committee rightly composed of the Labour union, representatives of the civil society, experts and members of the public in line with the resolution of the parliament. He also applauded the state of emergency on food security declared by the President concluded that the guarantee of farmers’ security, offtake of output through commodity boards, access to credit and extension services, will certainly boost agricultural output, stabilise food prices and deliver the needed relief to vulnerable Nigeriand at the aftermath of the removal of fuel subsidy.