The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said on Sunday that it has initiated plans to distribute 180 trucks of rice to various states, following the recommendation of the National Economic Council.
This move comes after the Federal Government’s announcement of a N5 billion palliative for each state, which includes 180 trucks of rice, as a response to the challenges posed by subsidy removal, resulting in skyrocketing fuel prices and subsequent inflation.
Babagana Zulum, the Governor of Borno State, explained that the N5 billion allocation is intended to help states procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize, and fertilisers to help address food shortages. Additionally, the Federal Government had previously released five trucks of rice to each state.
Ezekiel Manzo, NEMA spokesperson, confirmed that preparations are underway to execute this directive, with NEMA tasked with transporting the commodities and distributing relief items to communities in states bordering Nigeria and Niger Republic.
Manzo said, “I’m not saying that lifting has not started. What I’m saying is that the directive was given on Thursday, and arrangements are being made appropriately to carry out the directive.
“And you know that these arrangements would also mean that NEMA will be communicated formerly. But for us in NEMA we are prepared to carry out the directive. That’s what I mean.”
Manzo clarified that the council had entrusted NEMA with the task of transporting the goods and specified that the agency would also be responsible for delivering relief supplies to certain states.
He said, “What was said after the National Economic Council is that NEMA is going to move the items to the states, and NEMA is also expected to distribute relief materials to communities in the states bordering Nigeria and Niger Republic.
“The Kogi State governor even made a statement that NEMA would need to be empowered for the management of flood. So those were the outcomes of the National Economic Council meeting, which was held on Thursday.
“But you must also know that in every meeting, minutes are prepared and directives are communicated. So that is the stage that we are right now.”
These actions were decided during the 135th National Economic Council meeting, held on Thursday, to address concerns about rising food prices and transportation costs due to subsidy removal.
The funds allocated to states will follow a formula, with 52 percent provided as grants and 48 percent repayable over 20 months to the Central Bank of Nigeria.