In a stern warning on Tuesday, the Nigerian Senate cautioned President Bola Tinubu against unauthorized spending and called for a supplementary budget for the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) initiative. Led by Senator Jarigbe Jarigbe, the Senate’s Committee on Gas urged the executive arm of the government to swiftly present a 2023 Supplementary Budget to the National Assembly to initiate the CNG project.
This advisory came just 48 hours after President Tinubu announced measures to mitigate the impact of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians. The Senate emphasized that any spending without National Assembly approval would be illegal, citing the constraints posed by extra-budgetary spending.
While commending Tinubu for the CNG initiative, the committee’s chairman warned against utilizing taxpayers’ money without proper approval for projects in the gas value chain. The senators also discouraged extra-budgetary expenditure through ‘Ways and Means’ and expressed the legislature’s readiness to support initiatives that bring relief to the people.
Senator Jarigbe acknowledged Tinubu’s CNG revolution for powering vehicles and recognized its potential to alleviate citizens’ hardships. However, he stressed the need for a supplementary budget to fund the gas value chain, including CNG infrastructure and vehicles. He emphasized that workshops and training for CNG adoption would require funding.
Jarigbe asserted that the National Assembly, under the leadership of Senate President Senator Godswill Akpabio, was ready to support Tinubu’s ambitious programs. He proposed a 2023 supplementary budget as the appropriate approach, in contrast to the ‘Ways and Means’ strategy employed by the previous administration, which had sparked controversy in the Central Bank of Nigeria.
In his Independence speech, President Tinubu assured Nigerians that his administration would alleviate their hardships. He highlighted the deployment of cheaper, safer CNG buses nationwide, operating at a fraction of current fuel prices and positively affecting transport fares. Tinubu also mentioned forthcoming CNG conversion kits and the establishment of training facilities and workshops to provide opportunities for transport operators and entrepreneurs.