December 4, 2023

Labour faults N180bn palliatives, says govs will frustrate programme.

The organised labour has knocked the Federal Government for releasing a N180bn palliative package to states to cushion the impact of the fuel subsidy removal.

The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress insisted that the governors could not be trusted, noting that politicians and not the poor would benefit from the N5bn largess given to each state government for disbursement to the citizens.

The Federal Government on Thursday announced an N5bn palliative for each state of the federation and 180 trucks of rice as part of measures to assuage the pains of the subsidy removal.

The policy, which led to sharp and multiple increases in fuel pump prices, has driven up the prices of goods and services, pushing millions of Nigerians into poverty and worsening the socio-economic situation in the country.

The development also triggered nationwide protests by organised labour which insisted on the repair of refineries as a precondition for the subsidy withdrawal.

But announcing the release of the palliative at the end of the 135th National Economic Council meeting presided over by Vice President Kashim Shettima in Abuja, the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, disclosed that the N5bn was to enable the state governments to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizers to cushion the effect of food shortage across the country.

He added that considering the urgency in meeting the need to mitigate the skyrocketing food prices across the country, the Federal Government had last week released five trucks of rice to each state of the federation.

He noted that the council took bold decisions in order to ensure the speedy release of grains and other items for immediate distribution to the less privileged in society.

But reacting to the government’s interventions, the Assistant National Secretary-General of the NLC, Mr Chris Onyeka, wondered why the FG was releasing money to governors, many of whom he said had refused to pay the minimum wage.

He dismissed the palliative fund as paltry, noting that it would not get to the intended beneficiaries.

Speaking in the same vein, the TUC Deputy National President, Tommy Etim stressed that governors could not be trusted with the implementation of the palliative funds.

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