THE Nigerian government said it will monitor the distribution of the N5 billion palliatives approved for the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), each to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal on citizens.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, disclosed this during a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, on Friday. August 18.
He said this while admitting to the possibility of mismanagement of the funds by some government officials.
“It is true that there has been mismanagement of federal interventions with respect to social investments and some of these things in the past. Certainly, the government is a large operation, and you are going to have bad eggs that commit blunders within that,” he said.
Read about the previous palliative interventions here.
Ngelale also, berated antagonism by the Organised Labour and some other Nigerians on the palliative disbursement, as he noted that it is not a solution to the problem.
“What we are saying is Nigerians elected these state governors just as they elected the president, and we have to trust the judgment of Nigerians who elected these officials to conduct these activities on their behalf. So, it can’t just be at the outset panicking that they can’t do it. We have to trust them to do the job they were elected to do,” he said.
The Presidential spokesperson also clarified that the funds were not grants but loans to be repaid by the respective states. At the same time, he stressed that regulatory measures are in place by the federal government to check possible mismanagement.
“It is fair to say that given the history of maladministration in our country, especially with these kinds of palliatives and distribution mechanisms from the federal side, it is fair to say that there needs to be a check, there need to be a means of monitoring, which is why federal regulators are involved,” Ngelale said.
The federal government approved the palliative funds, which sum up to N185bn, for all the states and the FCT on Thursday, August 17.
An initial plan by the government to pay N8,000 to 12 million poor households for six months was received with criticism, as many people assumed the project would not be sustainable.
The government then decided that palliatives would be distributed using new registers created by states while discrediting the country’s National Social Record (NSR) used by the immediate past administration to implement the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme.
However, Organised Labour has, again, faulted the plan to distribute the N5bn palliatives funds to states through governors, saying they could not be trusted as affected residents of the states were unlikely to receive the funds.