The decision by the Nigerian federal government to provide a monthly payment of N8,000 to 12 million households as a means of mitigating the impact of fuel subsidy removal has generated mixed reactions. President Tinubu had announced the plan during a request to the National Assembly for approval to borrow $800 million from the World Bank. The funds would be transferred directly to the beneficiaries’ accounts, with the aim of stimulating economic activity in the informal sector and improving living conditions in their households.
The removal of fuel subsidy has resulted in a significant rise in the prices of essential goods and services, including food items and transportation fares. This has caused frustration among Nigerians, as observed in a market survey conducted in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, which revealed increased prices of staple food items.
While some stakeholders express skepticism about the effectiveness of the proposed N8,000 palliative for 12 million households, others raise concerns about the value of the amount given the current inflationary pressures in the country’s economy.
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Critics, such as the Head of Media and Communications of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Diran Onifade, argue that the palliative may not benefit Nigerians as expected and view it as a means to settle election expenses at public expense.
Similarly, President General of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, Goodluck Ibem, and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) question the adequacy of N8,000 in alleviating the hardships caused by the subsidy removal. They argue that the amount is insufficient, considering the surge in food prices and the level of inflation that has adversely affected the economy.
However, supporters like Thomas Terlumun, an APC chieftain in Benue State, urge Nigerians to remain patient, assuring them that additional palliatives will be provided. He highlights the planned production of buses by Innoson as a potential solution to reduce transportation costs for civil servants.
The government’s decision to provide the N8,000 monthly stipend has elicited varying opinions, with critics questioning its sufficiency, while supporters advocate for patience and await further interventions.