The Nigerian Senate has issued a stern warning to President Bola Tinubu, cautioning against illegal spending and urging him to pursue a supplementary budget for the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) initiative, which is estimated to cost N100 billion. The Senate’s stance was conveyed through its Committee on Gas, led by Agom Jarigbe, Senator representing Cross River North.
CNG buses are buses that run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as their fuel source. Compressed Natural Gas is a cleaner-burning alternative to traditional gasoline or diesel fuel.
CNG buses are considered environmentally friendly because they produce fewer harmful emissions when compared to those running on petrol or diesel engine. These buses are commonly used in public transportation systems as part of efforts to reduce air pollution and dependence on fossil fuels.
Jarigbe Jarigbe, the chairman of the committee, emphasized the need for the executive branch to promptly present a 2023 Supplementary Budget to the National Assembly to initiate the Compressed Natural Gas project. This call comes on the heels of President Tinubu’s announcement of measures aimed at alleviating the impact of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians.
While commending President Tinubu for his CNG initiative, Senator Jarigbe Jarigbe made it clear that any expenditure of taxpayers’ money or funds related to the CNG project must receive approval from the National Assembly to adhere to the law. He also highlighted the importance of funding various aspects of the gas value chain, including CNG infrastructure and vehicles, as well as workshops and training for CNG adoption.
“The President should not embark on extra-budgetary expenditure because it would be inconsistent with the provisions of the law,” Senator Jarigbe said .
Furthermore, Senator Jarigbe underscored the readiness of the National Assembly, under the leadership of Senate President Senator Godswill Akpabio, to support President Tinubu’s ambitious programs. He advocated for a 2023 supplementary budget as the most appropriate means of funding the CNG project, rather than resorting to the controversial ‘Ways and Means’ approach used by the previous administration, which had raised concerns at the Central Bank of Nigeria.
In his Independence Day speech, President Tinubu expressed his commitment to alleviating the hardships faced by Nigerians. He highlighted the deployment of cheaper and safer CNG buses as a significant step toward achieving this goal. These buses are expected to operate at a fraction of the current fuel prices, positively impacting transport fares.
President Tinubu also announced plans to introduce new CNG conversion kits and establish training facilities and workshops nationwide to empower transport operators and entrepreneurs.
The Senate’s warning and call for a supplementary budget reflect the importance of financial transparency and adherence to legal procedures in implementing critical initiatives such as the CNG project. President Tinubu’s vision for a more affordable and sustainable transportation system awaits the necessary legislative support to become a reality