Ondo State government has confirmed the receipt of only 3,000 instead of 81,000 bags of rice from the Federal Government as part of measures to ameliorate the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on the citizens.
Wale Akinterinwa, the commissioner for finance and chairman of the State Palliative Committee, confirmed this on Tuesday in Akure while speaking at the “Ondo Media Agenda”, organised by the State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
According to him, the state is actually expecting 81,000 bags of rice from the federal government but only 3,000 bags were so far delivered. He noted that the Ondo State government had ordered the purchase of additional 3,000 bags of rice, making 6,000 bags that are ready for distribution to vulnerable residents of the state.
Akinterinwa noted that President Bola Tinubu was worried and concerned about the welfare of the masses, hence the decision that the poor would not be overburdened with tax.
He said the federal and Ondo governments have rolled out different palliatives but the delay in the implementation of some of them was caused by technical issues, saying that because many states are ordering foodstuff and CNG vehicles at the same time to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal.
“From this month, apart from transportation, the pensioners would get their N10, 000, the vulnerable would also get the same. Some of these promises would definitely take time; we have to ensure transparency and accountability too.
“Free transportation for school children would commence next month, transportation for civil servants would also commence and we intend to buy more vehicles. We would have purchased more vehicles but we don’t want the ones using petrol, we want to buy CNG buses because they are bigger, but all the states are going for this purpose because of the fuel cost, we are also in the queue for it.”
He added that Ondo State had gotten 3,000 bags of rice contrary to the 81,000 bags of rice that was promised by the Federal Government, but rice is not the only food we consume, we would provide other foods, the state would also get more additional 3,000 bags of rice added to the ones given by the Federal Government.”
“The government would help the farmers get their food to town because we have realised that transportation is the major difficulty. We will provide tricycles for easy access when these crops get to town, it would be sold at a subsidised price,” Akinterinwa said.
“As a member of the Tinubu tax committee, I am sure by the time the committee is done with its plans; there would be policies that would favour the masses. We would ensure tax payment; the developed nation are developed because they pay their tax as at when due. We have followed suit in Ondo State in the enforcement of tax payment, we don’t have to suffocate the poor with it as Tinubu had said, ‘let the poor breath’. He is concerned about the welfare of the masses,” Akinterinwa who is a member of the Presidential Committee on Tax Reform, said.