Worried by the increasing cost of food items, and transportation in the country due to the removal of fuel subsidy, the Federal Government has approved the sum of N5 billion each to the 36 States of the Federation as palliative.
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents shortly after a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) at the Presidential Villa on Thursday in Abuja.
Prof. Zulum said, “in order to cushion the effect of food shortages across the country, the federal government has approved the sum of N5 billion to be given to each state for the procurement of 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizers.
“This funding has to be shared with a formula as follows: 52% of this money is given to states as grants, while 48% of the N5billon is to be paid back on an installment basis within 20 months to the CBN by the states and the local government areas in Nigeria”, he said.
The governor said, “the Council commended the efforts of the federal government under the leadership of President Tinubu as well as the CBN. We have also commended the efforts of NEMA in cushioning the effects of the subsidy removal.
“Council has taken bold decisions in order to ensure speedy release of grains and other items in order to cushion the effects of subsidy removal on the less privileged in the society.
“Council has also taken note of the $800 million loan and insists that it be strictly used for the intended purpose and based on accurate and acceptable register.
“The $ 800 million announced by the president will go to Nigerians in accordance with an accurate social register”, Zulum said.
He said, 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 N500billion. This fund has to be distributed to the following sectors: MSMEs, industrial sector, about N125 billion will go to cash transfers, agricultural sector as well as gas expansion for buses.
He reiterated that, “because of the increasing cost of fossil fuel, the federal government intends to establish more gas stations in Nigeria, procure more gas-powered buses, CNG buses, as well as electric buses in order to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal.
“Furthermore, NEMA will also liaise with states in order to distribute foodstuffs to the people immediately, especially those affected in the frontline states that are bordering Niger Republic because of the influx of refugees.
“The most important thing that the Council has taken note of is that all these palliatives that are being mentioned now are temporary solutions.
“Council has decided to invest in medium and longer term sustainable solutions that will ensure availability of food and non food solutions in Nigeria, especially investing in commercial agriculture and also investing in irrigated agriculture.”
Meanwhile, the federal government has constituted an Ad-hoc Committee to engage with the leadership of labour Unions.
The committee comprises the Nigerian Governors Forum Chairman, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq; Governor of Anambra State, Charles Soludo, Chairman of Progressives Governors Forum, Hope Uzodinma of Imo State; Governors Forum Chairman, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, and Abia State Governor, Alex Otti.
Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima who precided over the meeting said, the committee would liaise with the leadership of labour unions in the country to find a way forward on the emerging issues in the interest of the nation.