Juliet Akoje in Abuja
The House of Representatives has called for the implementation of the N550 billion presidential palliative intervention fund announced to cushion the impacts of fuel subsidy removal initiated by the present administration.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion of Urgent Public Importance on the ‘Urgent need for intervention to address the failure to implement Presidential Palliative, moved by Hon. Olawuyi Raheem Tunji, Hon. Abubakar Gumi, Hon. Gaza Jonathan, Hon. Zakaria Nyampa and Hon. Uchenna Okonkwo at plenary yesterday.
Olawuyi, while presenting the motion, noted that the removal of petrol subsidy which was announced by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in May 2023, has adversely affected the majority of micro, small and medium enterprises in Nigeria and forced businesses to shut down, destroying means of livelihood and plunging millions into poverty.
“The House notes that section 14(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provided that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of any government. The House further notes that the removal of petrol subsidy in May 2023 has adversely affected a majority of micro, small and medium enterprises in Nigeria forcing businesses to shut down, destroying means of livelihood and plunging millions into poverty.”
“The House is aware that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in his resolve to address the situation, unveiled via his address to the nation, on 31st July 2023, a N550 billion worth of government interventions cutting across three major sectors of the economy viz: Agriculture (N200 billion), MSME sector (N250 billion) and transportation sector (N100 billion). The presidential pronouncement put the period of the implementation of the N550 billion palliatives between August 2023 and March 2024.”
“The House is concerned that nearly five months after the removal of petrol subsidy, the implementation of this intervention especially the MSME component that directly affect 1 million nano businesses is yet to take off. The House is cognisant of the contribution by the SME to the economy representing 48 per cent of the total GDP and engaging over 84 per cent of the total workforce.”
The lawmaker stressed that “unless the House intervened, the present economic situation occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy and the floating of the Naira will further worsen the challenges being faced by the SMEs in Nigeria.”
The House further mandated the Speaker, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas to meet President Bola Ahmed Tinubu with the view to addressing the delay in the implementation of the intervention.
And also mandated its Committee on SME to engage the relevant MDAs with a view to identifying the impediments to the implementation and to report back to the House within two weeks.