The Federal Government has unraveled plans to cushion the impact of petroleum subsidy removal on Nigerians.
The new interventions covers conditional cash transfers to the poorest of the poor, a cash award policy in aid of civil servants, a new minimum wage for workers, payment of outstanding salaries, support for Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (MSMEs) and the implementation of the energy transition plan.
These were decided upon during the National Economic Council, NEC meeting presided over by Vice-President Kashim Shettima at the state house, in Abuja on Thursday.
The latest policies comes on the heels of the introduction of palliatives and food subsidies to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal.
Briefing state correspondents at the end of the meeting, Charles Soludo, Anambra state governor, Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi, and Dapo Abiodun, Ogun state governor commended the policies.
During the meeting, the council expressed concerns about the integrity of the National Social Register recommended for disbursement of the palliatives, and suggested that states should develop their own registers to ensure effective targeting and delivery of palliatives.
Furthermore, the NEC highlighted the significance of providing financial support to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with single-digit interest rates, thus fostering business growth.
To expedite the adoption of clean energy solutions, the council urged the immediate implementation of the Energy Transition Plan, which emphasizes the transition to compressed natural gas (CNG) for mass transit vehicles. Additionally, the proposal included the establishment of manufacturing and assembly plants for electric vehicles (EVs) in each region in the long term. In the interim, the council encouraged the conversion to CNG to boost employment and reduce dependency on petrol.
Addressing food security and price escalation concerns, the council advocated for state governments to distribute food items, grains, and fertilizers at rates acquired from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). States can choose to sell these items at subsidized rates or distribute them for free to ease the burden on citizens.
In light of the prevailing economic challenges, the council highlighted the need to reduce the cost of governance. They urged public officials to trim the number of cars in their convoys and the appointments of aides, emphasizing the importance of being sensitive to the prevailing times and eliminating unnecessary expenditures.
The NEC mentioned the possibility of negotiating a new minimum wage over time, subject to appropriate structures and procedures.
The proposal put forth by the NEC seeks to provide much-needed relief to Nigerians during this critical period. The active involvement of various state governors in formulating these measures underscores their commitment to addressing the welfare of their citizens.