Tinubu soft-pedals on N8,000 palliative cash transfer directs immediate review

By Ogaji Ali

Following the mixed feelings that trailed the proposal by the federal government to pay twelve million poorest households N8,000 monthly to cushion the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy, it said it would begin an immediate review of the policy.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake said the decision is in response to the views expressed by Nigerians.

According to Mr. Alake, “A lot of ill-informed imputations have been read into the programme by not a few naysayers. The Administration believes in the maxim that when there is prohibition, there must be provision. Since subsidy, the hydra-headed monster threatening to kill the economy, has been stopped, government has emplaced a broad spectrum of reliefs to bring help to Nigerians.”

He said it was part of the culture of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration to dialogue with Nigerians and that the president covenanted with Nigerians that their welfare and security would be topmost in the Renewed Hope Agenda of his government.

“In the last few days, the conventional and new media platforms have become awash with stories of the government intending to embark on conditional cash transfer to vulnerable households mostly affected by the painful but necessary decision to remove subsidy from petrol.

“The story has been widely reported that the Federal Government is proposing to give 12 million households from the poorest of the poor N8,000 monthly for a period of six months as government palliative to reduce the discomfort being experienced by Nigerians consequent upon subsidy removal.

“A lot of ill-informed imputations have been read into the programme by not a few naysayers. The Administration believes in the maxim that when there is prohibition, there must be provision. Since subsidy, the hydra-headed monster threatening to kill the economy, has been stopped, government has emplaced a broad spectrum of reliefs to bring help to Nigerians.” Mr. Alake explained.

He further disclosed three major directives given by President Bola Tinubu on the issue to include the following:

1. That the N8,000 conditional cash transfer programmed envisaged to bring succour to most vulnerable households be reviewed immediately. This is in deference to the views expressed by Nigerians against it.

2. That the whole gamut of palliative package of government be unveiled to Nigerians.

3. Immediate release of fertilisers and grains to approximately 50 million farmers and households respectively in all the 36 states and the FCT.

In addition, President Tinubu assured Nigerians that the N500 billion approved by parliament to cushion the pain occasioned by the end of subsidy regime would be judiciously utilised.

“The beneficiaries of the reliefs shall be Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic, religious or political affiliation.

“President Bola Tinubu has promised to always prioritize the wellbeing of Nigerians and he is irrevocably committed to the vow. A number of decisions taken so far by this Administration have buttressed this stance.

“You will recall that the President took a similar decision after listening to complaints from the business community/stakeholders about burdensome taxes, particularly multiplicity of taxes they are made to experience. This warranted the signing of four (4) Executive Orders cancelling some classes of taxes, while suspending the implementation dates of others.

“In addition, the President has also set up a Tax Reform/Fiscal Policy Committee to bring up recommendations that will engender a wholesome fiscal environment for the country and remove anti-business barriers.

“I wish to assure Nigerians that President Tinubu will continue to be a listening leader whose ears will not be dull to the views expressed by the citizenry. The President believes government exists to cater for the interest of the people and he has demonstrated this so clearly.” he said.

On Tuesday, the Nigeria Labour Congress rejected the cash transfer policy of the Federal government, describing it as case of “robbing the poor and paying the rich”.

The reaction of the NLC followed the increase in the pump price of petrol from N537 to N617/N640 per litre across the country.

 

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