By Sola Afuye, Abuja

Members of the House of Representatives on Thursday approved the N500billion palliatives aimed at cushioning the effects of the removal subsidy, with concerns over its implementation.

As the bill was read the second and third time, members raised questions on how the Federal Government would protect the funds from going to the wrong recipients.

The bill was for the authorisation of the issuance of N500billion from the 2022 Supplementary Appropriations of N819.54billion for the provision of palliatives to Nigerians to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.

The leader of the House Hon. Julius Ihonvbere had moved a motion for the suspension of Order 12(3) to enable the House take the second and third reading of the Bill.

In leading the debate, he said the request had become necessary to adopt policies focused on cushioning the effects of the fuel subsidy removal for the economic benefits of Nigerians.

Ihonvbere also praised the federal government for responding to the yearnings of Nigerians in providing palliatives to enable them to weather the difficult economic terrain being felt.

He called on members to support the request to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal which in itself was highly necessary to salvage Nigeria’s economy from the grip of a privileged few.

However, while commending the bill, members took turns to raise concerns given that budgeted funds were seldom fully implemented and often never trickle down to the ordinary Nigerian.

They also noted that in the past budgeted funds approved by the National Assembly had suffered diversion from the purpose they were meant for.

They urged that the federal government must ensure that the funds reached those who are in dire need.

Hon Beni Lar,wondered sought details of funds of the palliatives and how the Federal Government intends to identify authentic beneficiaries.

She recommended an ad hoc committee that would ensure the grey areas were taken care of.

Hon. Kingsley Chinda warned against merely giving out handouts to poor Nigerians without solving the problems.

He called for palliatives that will give living wages to Nigerians such as the reduction of charges on Nigerians in sectors like education, feed, power bills, transportation prices, provide affordable healthcare etc. so that Nigerians can actually live responsibly.

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