By Mohammed Suleiman, Dutse
THE Federal Government has vowed to monitor the distribution of palliatives meant to cushion the impact of subsidy removal on Nigerians at state level.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, made this known on Channels Television’s “Politics Today” on Friday.
“It is fair to say that there ineed to be a check. There needs to be means of monitoring which is why federal regulators are involved; which is why we have put in place the palliatives distribution,” he said.
The Federal Government approved N5 billion for each state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to enable them to procure food items for distribution to the poor in their respective states
Hours after the development, Tinubu’s spokesperson admitted that there are possibilities of bad eggs manifesting in the disbursement process, adding that his principal is going to enforce a bottom-up approach.
“So, what we are doing now is this: yes, the state government is being empowered to the extent that they are implementing some of the palliatives that we are talking about with respect to the delivery of rice and maize to communities across the states and other supplements that are well known by now.
“But what we are also doing is that from the federal end, we are ensuring that these funds are not just giveaway grants that don’t have to be paid back. First of all, it’s a loan facility.”
Ajuri also slammed the organized labour, urging them to avoid blank statements and generalising the state governors as incompetent for the palliative distribution task.
“And by the way, these state governors that the organized labour movement is painting all 36 of them with the same brush as if all of them are the same, all of them are performing at the same level, all of them have the same competency—we know that’s a ridiculous assertion,” he said.
According to the Special Adviser, Nigerians should open a window of trust to the state governors in distributing palliatives, adding that they were voted in by the credibility of the people to address their needs.
“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,” he said.
But to the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, says the N5 billion approved for each state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to cushion the impact of fuel subsidy removal is inadequate to impact on the people.
Ajaero, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday said that if calculated, the N5bn will not amount to N1,500 per person.
According to him, it is unclear whether the money is a loan or a palliative to the states or to Nigerians.
“But whichever might be the case, let’s assume that it is palliative; you would agree that it is difficult to feel the impact of such an amount at a time like this.
“The [National] Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has come out to say that over 133 million Nigerians are multidimensionally poor. You start to wonder about the impact of N185 billion to 133 million people by their admittance.
“And from the time this report was released and now, in fact, the first increase in the pump price of petroleum products and the last one, moved a lot of people from the borderline to a very high level of poverty.
“Now if you calculate it, you will discover that this will not translate to N1,500 per person and you ask: is that the impact? Is that really what we want to achieve? Let’s assume it’s a loan. What is really going to happen? Is it garbage in, garbage out?
“If it is N5 billion, I think the organised labour would want anybody to do the calculation and tell us how it is going to impact Nigerians on what is happening currently.