Subsidy removal: FG to disburse $800m to 50m Nigerians as palliative
The federal government has secured the sum of $800 million from the World Bank, as part of its post-subsidy palliative plans.
This was disclosed to state house correspondents on Wednesday by the minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, at the end of the federal executive council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister revealed that the federal government has resolved to end subsidy by June, hence it has set plans in motion to cushion the effects on the citizens.
According to her, “there has already been meaningful engagement with the newly established Presidential Transition Council (PTC) and the incoming administration, with the view to driving the palliative programme.”
She added, “We have secured a modest sum of $800 million from the World Bank to drive the palliative and we are targeting about 10 million households or 50 million vulnerable Nigerians in the first instance”.
Ahmed explained that a large chunk of the funds will go to the 10 million households considered to be most vulnerable, to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal.
“We are currently engaging with all the stakeholders. We know that various plans are being considered, including the need for buses by the Labour, amongst several other palliatives scheme”.
“The secondary question on exit of fuel subsidy, this is a commitment in the Petroleum Industry Bill. There’s a provision that says that 18 months after the effectiveness of the PIA that all petroleum products must be deregulated, that 18 months takes us to June 2023.”
“Also, when we were working on the 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Appropriation Act, we made that provision to enable us exit fuel subsidy by June 2023. We’re on course, we’re having different stakeholder engagements, we’ve secured some funding from the World Bank, that is the first tranche of palliatives that will enable us give cash transfers to the most vulnerable in our society that have now been registered in a national social register. Today, that register has a list of 10 million households. 10 million households are equivalent to about 50 million Nigerians.”
“But we must also raise more resources to enable us to do more than just the cash transfers and in our engagements with the various stakeholders, the various kinds of tasks that we must go beyond the requirement of just giving cash transfers. Labour, for example, might be looking for mass transit for its members.”
“So, there are several things that we’re still planning and working on, some we can start executing quickly, some are more medium-term implementation.”
Further speaking on plans for the funds, Ahmed said the money is currently available for disbursement and concerned stakeholders are being engaged.
She added, “$800 million for the scale up of the national social investment programme (NSIP) at the World Bank and it’s secured, it’s ready for this disbursement”.
“We are currently engaging with all the stakeholders. We know that various plans are being considered, including the need for buses by the Labour, amongst several other palliative measures.”