Federal govt approves N5bn palliative each for state amid severe hardship

THE Federal government, on Thursday, August 17, approved a sum of N5 billion palliative for each state and the federal capital territory (FCT) to address the impact of the fuel subsidy removal on the masses.

The total figure amounts to N185 billion for the 36 states and the FCT.

The governor of Borno state, Babagana Zulum, announced this to State House correspondents after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, presided over by vice president Kashim Shettima.

Zulum said each state, including the federal capital, would get N5 billion for palliatives.

The council comprises governors of the 36 states, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other co-opted government officials.

Arising from the removal of the subsidy, the pump price of fuel has surged to over N600 per litre, causing severe hardship for individual households.

The House of Representatives has on Thursday, July 13, approved President Bola Tinubu’s request to source N500 billion from the N819.5 billion 2022 supplementary budget to fund palliatives to cushion the impact of subsidy removal on Nigerians.

The Senate also had on July 13 approved the President’s request of $800 million World Bank loan as additional funds for the financing of the national social safety net programme (NSIP) set up by the National Assembly.

A concessionary facility, the loan was to expand coverage of shock response and safety net support among the poor and vulnerable Nigerians to meet the cost of their essential needs.

    An initial plan by the government to pay N8,000 to 12 million poor households was greeted with criticism, as many people assumed the plan would not be sustainable.

    The government then decided that palliatives to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal would be implemented using new registers created by states after the council discredited the country’s national social record (NSR) supposedly used by the immediate past administration to implement conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme.

    A social intervention programme is expected to jumpstart people from poverty, which makes it a temporary programme, Nigeria’s country director, ActionAid, Ene Obi, told The ICIR.

    She, however, said the government needs to come clean on the issue of corruption and be accountable.

    “You do not give people fish; you teach them how to fish,” the ActionAid country director said.

    Also, there are concerns about the methodology and criteria the governments intend to use to select vulnerable Nigerians to benefit from the fuel subsidy palliatives.

    The ICIR reported that the Federal and state governments recorded awful experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic distribution of palliatives to the citizens.

    The disgruntled exercise caused a lot of controversies that trailed the entire process of the distribution of the Covid-19 palliatives.

    Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report showed that over 133 million Nigerians live in multidimensional poverty.

    The figure indicates that 63 per cent of Nigerians are poor due to a lack of access to health, education, and living standards, alongside unemployment and shocks, adding that three out of five Nigerians live in poverty.

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