OPEN LETTER: N180BN PALLIATIVES: CACOL CALLS FOR JUDICIOUS DISBURSEMENT
Friday, August 18, 2023
Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR
President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces
Aso Rock Villa, 3 Arms Zone
Garki – Abuja
Federal Republic of Nigeria
N180BN PALLIATIVES: CACOL CALLS FOR JUDICIOUS DISBURSEMENT
For some days now, Nigerians have been facing the reality of the fuel subsidy removal. The removal of the subsidy on fuel in Nigeria has led to rising inflation and reduced economic welfare, hurt economic growth and reduces household income, and makes firms less competitive. There is confusion everywhere, and people are coming to terms with this reality.
However, the pressure this exerts on Nigeria’s fragile socio-political and economic conditions is enormous and gradually heading to a tipping point. Social media are awash with harrowing videos of people’s reactions in various parts of Nigeria, and they all point to the pervading rage, frustration, and hardship people are going through.
To this end, we at The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, would like to commend your administration for approving the sum of one hundred and eighty billion naira (N180bn) as palliatives for the 36 states of the federation.
While announcing the release of the palliative at the end of the 135th National Economic Council meeting in Abuja, the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, disclosed that the N5bn was to enable the state governments to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizers to cushion the effect of food shortage across the country.
He added that considering the urgency in meeting the need to mitigate the skyrocketing food prices across the country, the Federal Government had last week released five trucks of rice to each state of the federation.
The governor further stated that “This funding has to be shared with a formula as follows: 52 percent of this money is given to states as grants, while 48 per cent of the N5bn is to be paid back on an installment basis within a period of 20 months to the CBN by the states and the local government areas in Nigeria.
We would like to commend the federal government for at least heeding to numerous outcries from various quarters calling for palliatives to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal on the people. This administration has shown that it is feeling the pulse of the people by approving 180bn as palliatives to be shared among the states in the country”.
In addition, we feel the pains and agony being encountered by cash strapped members of the public who have had to endure both the physical, emotional and psychological trauma caused by no fault of their own having been forced to buy petroleum products freely given to us by nature at exorbitant rates just because some unscrupulous Nigerians have made it a point of duty to incapacitate our refineries.
Mr. President, we are however skeptical about the capabilities of some governors to deliver or disburse these palliatives to those they were intended, going by the happenings in the past. We are all living witnesses to the way and manner some foodstuffs that were meant to serve as palliatives for Nigerians were locked up in warehouses across the country by some greedy and selfish people in power at the detriment of pauperized, traumatized and famished Nigerians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We would also want you to direct the state governors to ensure judicious disbursement of the palliatives both in cash and kind. They should ensure that these palliatives do not end in the pockets of the few powerful individuals in their various states.
The people of the state should feel the impacts of these palliatives no matter how small.
We also want to use this medium to call on our people to monitor the disbursement of these palliatives in their various states so as to ensure that foodstuffs and other commodities meant for the people are not cornered by politicians.
Your Excellency, the pains and agony members of the public are enduring as a result of the subsidy removal on a daily basis are enormous and can only be mitigated by the commitment of the federal and state governments to make these palliatives available to the people in various parts of the country so as to prevent the impending pandemonium which will negatively affect the already battered economy of the country.
Yours in the service of Humanity,