• Saturday, June 22, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

N500bn palliatives not enough, trillions needed instead, says BusinessDay CEO

BusinessDay publisher speaks at advert managers’ business session

Frank Aigbogun, Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of BusinessDay Media Ltd., has insisted that the N500 billion planned as palliatives for Nigerians by the Federal Government is not enough, urging the government to spend more money if its desired impact is to be achieved.

Aigbogun, though not against the idea of palliatives, urged the government to focus more on impactful policies that have the potential to cushion the impact of the fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians.

The publisher, who appeared on Channels Television’s Business Morning on Friday, spoke extensively on the FG’s declaration of a state of emergency on food security and the N500 billion in palliatives planned for Nigerians.

Read also: Nigerian media in need of reader revenue model for sustainability — Aigbogun

He said, “Well, I think there are two comments that I will have to make here. Firstly, there is, in my view, a need to increase whatever the Federal Government is increasing. N500 billion will not convince at all; it will have to run into trillions for you to make the impact that the government seeks to make.”

Added to the breakdown on how the Federal Government plans to spend the N500 billion in palliative money, the BusinessDay CEO urged the government to not only devote the saved funds from the fuel subsidy removal but come out with policies that will have an enduring impact on the lives of the majority of Nigerians. This comes especially as the World Bank said in its recent report that around seven million Nigerians are likely to fall into extreme poverty this year, adding to the 144 million Nigerians already living in multidimensional poverty.

“A second and more fundamental view for me is that palliatives tend to provide the bandage around the wound. Palliatives will not heal the wound. So there is a need for the government to move very quickly to begin to enthrone policies that are far-reaching in impact, enduring, and sustainable,” he said.

He insisted that palliatives are more of an ingenious, politically influenced, and less effective way to provide succour to millions of Nigerians as they try to adjust to the new economic reality.

“I just look at palliatives with a pinch of salt—that’s my view about palliatives. They only put a bandage around the wound,” he added.

On the amount saved to perhaps add to the N500 billion to be used for palliatives, Aigbogun said, “I recall BusinessDay had done a story (money saved from fuel subsidy removal) on this last week and said that if everything were to go in the federation account, you could see the FAAC purse doubling.

“But the governor said to me that over the years it has not been properly funded from subsidy or under recovery of subsidy. And you are aware that the NNPC said that it has been about N2 trillion.

“So I will imagine that about N400 billion in savings from subsidy, a huge part of that will go into covering the big hole that the Buhari government dug at NNPC before it can begin to flow into FAAC.”