• Thursday, December 07, 2023
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Subsidy: NEC sets up committee to work out modalities for palliatives distribution

The newly-inaugurated National Economic Council (NEC) says it has set up a Committee on how to share intended palliatives meant to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal across the country.

The Council at its inaugural meeting in Abuja on Thursday presided over by Vice President Kashim Shettima, stated that it had adopted far-reaching decisions, including accepting recommendations for minimum wage review, consequential adjustment of N702.9 billion as part of allowances to workers, as well as how to share N25 billion to be saved from the adjustment of fuel prices, monthly.

Katsina state Governor Umar Radda stated that NEC devoted its discussions to palliative measures to mitigate the effect of the petroleum subsidy removal through the NG-Cares programme.

“As you are aware, the NG-Cares Programme is a programme that started in 2021 running up to 2024. And then is to provide some emergency on palliatives, social needs on so many issues, ranging from small farmers holders, MSMEs and other interventions.

“It’s a $750 million from the World Bank-assisted funds and it commenced a long time ago”, he said.

According to him, some of the recommendations that were made included that states should create platforms having a strong capacity to handle the implementation of palliatives to the new and existing poor and vulnerable individuals, households and farmers, including boosting the economy of local operators in the country.

“Additional funding can be sourced from the Federal Government, World Bank, Development partners as well as Nigerian private sector.

“In specific, the World Bank can be approached for additional financing on the NG-Cares programme. Discussion can start as soon as possible. So, these are the recommendations that were made. The National Economic Council will pursue these recommendations for the benefit of the Nigerian, vulnerable and the poor.”

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Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state said such measures would go a long way to cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidies.

“And in addition to the palliatives, the government will look at all the issues, the challenges and problems holistically and we have set up a small committee of the council to review and come up with a term of reference to organize areas specifically where this palliatives can come and how it will be dispensed to alleviate the problem of workers and other vulnerable groups”, he said.

“The committee is expected within the next two weeks to come up with a recommendation to NEC for a wholistic decision that will be taken immediately to alleviate the problem that may be encountered by the removal of the subsidy”, he added.

Abia state Governor Alex Otti, while also speaking on the interventions, noted that a presentation by the National Automotive Design and Development Council stated that about seven states in the country, including Lagos, Ogun, Anambra, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna and Kano are already benefiting from domestic production of vehicles or assembling of vehicles by Nigerian companies operating in Nigeria.

He listed the companies to include INNOSON, Maikano, Dangote Peugeot, Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria, Stallion Hyundai, Honda, Elizade/Toyota, Coscharis and Ford, Kojo Motors and Jet Systems motors.

He said, “At the moment, about 50,000 jobs have been created by this simple act of either assembling vehicles in Nigeria or producing them in Nigeria, adding that this can increase to one million, with federal government support.

“It is a great feat that some of these companies have gone into the manufacturing or assembly of electric vehicles and vehicles powered by CNG – compressed natural gas. The impact of this is that the pressure on the price of petroleum products particularly PMS will be reduced. The more we use electric vehicles and CNG-powered vehicles.”