Palliatives: NEC dumps Buhari’s register, states to produce new roster

THE National Economic Council (NEC) has decided that palliatives to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal will be implemented using new registers created by states rather than those utilised by the last administration.

The decision was taken at the NEC meeting held on Thursday, July 20, presided over by Vice President Kashim Shettima.

The Council agreed that the register used by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to implement the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) lacked integrity as the criteria for its compilation were ambiguous.


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Anambra State governor Charles Soludo noted after the meeting that many of the poorest Nigerians are unbanked, which makes it impossible to digitally transfer money to them.

“We need to face the problem of the fact that we don’t have a credible register,” Soludo said.

He added that through formal and informal strategies, states could easily identify recipients of the palliatives.

The Council agreed that integrity tests would be carried out on the proposed registers.

In the same vein, government officials were urged to reduce the cost of governance in their various organisations.

In June, NEC recommended palliatives for workers and poor Nigerians during its inaugural meeting, under the President Bola Tinubu administration, to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal in the country.

The recommendation came sequel to Tinubu’s directive that the Council should come up with options to ease the effects of subsidy removal.

Bauchi State governor Bala Mohammed disclosed after the inaugural meeting that the Council considered paying the sum of N702 billion as cost of living allowances to civil servants.






     

     

    “Various scenarios were given by the presenter on the issue of national salaries, income and wages, and this N702 billion-plus was suggested as cost of living adjustment allowance by the organised labour, and the other one is a petroleum allowance,” Mohammed said in June.

    Tinubu had asked the National Assembly to approve an $800 million loan to ease the hardships caused by the subsidy removal.

    He had initially decided that 12 million poor households would receive N8,000 monthly over six months from the loan to assist with the rising cost of living resulting from the hike in fuel prices.

    However, most Nigerians widely criticised the N8,000 sum, describing it as meagre, and as well condemned the general idea as unsustainable and prone to corruption, after which Tinubu ordered a review of the directive.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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