PRESIDENT TINUBU’S N500BN PALLIATIVE: NIGERIANS REQUIRE MORE EXPLANATIONS
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has asked the President of the country to shed more light on his request for N500bn to be used to provide palliatives for Nigerians following the removal of petrol subsidy announced during his inaugural address on May 29, 2023, in response to claims that the subsidy regime favoured the rich more than the average Nigerians, among other reasons.
In a release issued by the organization’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of Mr. Debo Adeniran, CACOL’s Chairman, he noted, “It would be recalled that President Tinubu’s request was contained in a letter sent to the National Assembly and read during plenary by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas. In his letter, the President proposed an amendment to the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act, saying “The request has become necessarily important to, among other things, the source for funds necessary to provide palliatives to mitigate the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy on Nigerians. Thus, the sum of N500bn only has been extracted from the 2022 Supplementary Act of N819,536,937,815 for the provision of palliative to cushion the effect of petrol subsidy removal.”
According to the CACOL’s boss, “We believe Nigerians need to know more about the N500bn the President is requesting. He should make the details of how the money would be spent more clearly to the average Nigerian. Inasmuch as we are not against the provision of palliatives for Nigerians who have been negatively affected by the removal of the fuel subsidy, we are calling on the President to reveal the details of how the money will be spent”.
In a country where a humongous amount of money had been expended in the past years majorly on palliatives and the low number of people that benefitted from the said palliatives, it will be unthinkable for this administration to follow the part of the past administrations.
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.
To avoid the mistakes of the past administrations, the Tinubu-led government should publicize how it intends to spend the money, the names and locations of the beneficiaries, the modalities for disbursing the money and the conditions attached to the disbursement (if any), and other details that would set the minds of Nigerians at peace knowing fully well that the money would be used as planned”.
The CACOL Head adds, “Moreover, we observe that even if the names of those to benefit in the conditional cash transfer or whatever method the government wants to use to disburse the N500bn are published, the money may not impact significantly on the livelihood of the beneficiaries. If any palliative would be given, it should reflect in the cost of macro-economic products like petroleum but since the argument is that if petroleum is cheaper, it will be smuggled out of the country, then the palliative can be used to subsidize electricity, since it is not likely that electricity would be smuggled out of the country. It can also be used to subsidize the cost of building materials or telephony thereby having a direct impact on affordable housing and communication among the people. Reduction in prices of these products will affect everybody rather than selective conditional transfer to some privileged few that has been done in the past and nobody has openly acknowledged that it impacted positively on their lives”.
Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL