By Milcah Tanimu
In a move to alleviate the impact of petrol subsidy removal, the Federal Government has given its nod for the distribution of N5 billion to states, local government councils, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State revealed this following the conclusion of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting held on Thursday in Abuja.
Governor Zulum conveyed that the fund will be allocated towards the procurement of 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize, as well as fertilizers. The disbursement will be based on a structure of 52% in grants and 48% in loans, which are to be repaid within 20 months to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the respective states and local councils.
Zulum commended both President Bola Tinubu and the CBN for their diverse endeavors aimed at lessening the impact of the subsidy removal on the general populace.
Furthermore, Governor Zulum indicated that the federal government had extended assistance in the form of food supplies to states sharing borders with Niger Republic to manage the influx of refugees entering these states.
The federal government had also allocated five trucks of rice to each of these states in the previous week for distribution among vulnerable citizens within their jurisdictions.
Governor Zulum stated, “Moreover, the Council has taken note of the comprehensive package announced by the President to mitigate the effects of the subsidy removal, amounting to approximately N500 billion.”
“This funding is designated for allocation to sectors including Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the industrial sector, cash transfers amounting to N125 billion, the agricultural sector, and gas expansion for public transport, particularly buses.”
“In response to the escalating cost of conventional fuel, the federal government intends to establish additional gas stations across Nigeria, acquire more gas-powered buses, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses, and electric buses to cushion the impact of the subsidy removal.”
Governors have been directed to engage in negotiations with labor union leaders to address palliative measures. A committee of governors has been formed for this purpose.
Governor Zulum also emphasized that while these measures are immediate solutions, efforts are underway to formulate more sustainable, long-term strategies.
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State conveyed that the NEC deliberated on the repercussions of the 2022 flood on states and discussed the necessary steps to aid the victims.
He conveyed that the NEC urged the federal government to promptly dispatch relief supplies to the flood-affected individuals in various states.
The delay in relief disbursement is attributed to certain states that have yet to provide data on the flood situation in their regions.
Governor Seyi Makinde also highlighted that the NEC observed a moment of silence in memory of the armed forces personnel who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Niger State.
The council additionally advised the government to take swift actions and implement policies to stabilize the economy, reduce the unemployment rate, and enhance investment inflow into the nation.