PALLIATIVES: FG doles out N185bn to 36 states, FCT

  • 48% grants to be repaid in 20 months
  • Governors to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize, fertilizers
  • Soludo heads committee to engage labour movement

The Federal Government has announced a N5 billion palliative for each state of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, to cushion the impact of the removal of petrol subsidy.

The Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum made this announcement on Thursday during an interactive session with State House correspondents in Abuja after the statutory meeting of the National Economic Council chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima.

Specifically, the Council, which is composed of the governors of the 36 states of the federation, also has ministers in charge of FCT and Finance, as well as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Group Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited and some others as members.

NEC at Thursday’s meeting considered varying issues, including the federation’s financial status, general issues, especially the deployment of palliatives aimed at cushioning the harsh effects of the fuel subsidy removal.

In addition to the fund, Zulum said the Federal Government also released five trucks of rice each to the 36 state governors.

Giving the outcome of the meeting, Zulum said the N5 billion is to enable state governments to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizers to cushion the effect of food shortage across the country.

“This funding has to be shared with a formula as follows: 52 percent of this money is given to states as grants, while 48 percent of the N5billon is to be paid back on an installment basis within a period of 20 months to the CBN by the states and the local government areas in Nigeria.

“The council has taken bold decisions in order to ensure the speedy release of grains and other items to cushion the effects of subsidy removal on the less privileged in society.

“The council has also taken note of the $800 million loan and insists that it be strictly used for the intended purpose and based on an accurate and acceptable register. The $800 million announced by the president will go to Nigerians in accordance with an accurate social register.

“Furthermore, the council has also noted the package that was announced by the president in order to cushion the effect of subsidy removal, amounting to about N500 billion.

“This fund has to be distributed to the following sectors MSMEs: the industrial sector, about N125 billion, will go to cash transfers, the agricultural sector as well as gas expansion for buses.

“And because of the increasing cost of fossil fuel, the Federal Government intends to establish more gas stations in Nigeria and procure more gas-powered buses, CNG buses, as well as electric buses,” Governor Zulum said.

He noted that the council commended the efforts of the Federal Government and the CBN in addressing the current situation in the country.

The NEC has also set up a committee, made up of the Anambra State Governor, Charles Soludo; the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Governor AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman of Kwara State among others, tasked with the responsibility of engaging with the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress over the latter’s push for palliatives due to the subsidy removal.

Asides from the economic difficulties facing Nigeria in the wake of the subsidy removal, NEC also discussed security issues, especially recent attacks in the northern parts of the country.

Apart from Governor Zulum, Vice President Kashim Shettima, who chaired it, governors and other stakeholders were at the meeting.

Members of NEC have been deliberating on measures to cushion the impact of the subsidy removal.

NEC’s most recent meeting is coming hours after the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited secured a $3 billion Emergency Crude Repayment Loan from African Export-Import Bank Bank.

Among governors who attended the meeting were Abdulrahman Abdulrazak (Kwara), Hope Uzodinma (Imo), Inuwa Yahya (Gombe) Dauda Lawal (Zamfara), Alex Otti (Abia), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Ademola Adeleke (Osun).

Others were Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Uba Sani(Kaduna), Sheriff Obrevwori (Delta), Charles Soludo (Anambra), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Umaru Namadi (Jigawa),

Also at the meeting were Umo Eno (Akwa Ibom), Bassey Otu (Cross River), Lucky Aiyedatiwa (Ondo State acting governor), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Ahmad Aliu (Sokoto), Agbu Kefas (Taraba), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Peter Mbah (Enugu), Babagana Zulum (Borno).

Deputy Governors of Katsina, Rivers, Yobe, Adamawa, Kano, Kebbi also participated in the meeting.