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FG Approves N5bn Per State for Palliatives

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has approved the disbursement of N5 billion for each state to enable them to procure food items for distribution to the poor in their respective states as part of palliative measures.

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State disclosed this at the Presidential Villa shortly after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja.

This development comes in the wake of the hike in the cost of food items, and petroleum owing to the removal of subsidy on the commodity.

According to him, the federal government also released five trucks of rice each to the 36 state governors.

Explaining further, Governor Zulum said the state governors are to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize, and fertilizers.

He noted that 52 per cent of the funds were given to the state governments as grants while 48 per cent is loans.

On May 29, during his inauguration, President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of subsidy on petrol. This development has caused hardship for many Nigerians with its attendant increase in the prices of goods and services.

Days after the removal of subsidy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced the unification of all segments of the forex exchange (FX) market. This has put additional pressure on the local currency and manufacturers, with ripple effects on prices.

On Tuesday, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Nigeria’s annual inflation rate rose to 24.08 per cent in July from 22.79 per cent in the previous month.

The statistics office said the July 2023 inflation rate showed an increase of 1.29 per cent points when compared to June 2023 headline inflation rate.

The NBS said the contributions of items on the divisional level to the acceleration in the headline index are food & non-alcoholic beverages (12.47 per cent), housing water, electricity, gas & other fuel (4.03 per cent), clothing & footwear (1.84 per cent), transport (1.57 per cent), furnishings & household equipment & maintenance (1.21 per cent), education (0.95 per cent), health (0.72 per cent), miscellaneous goods & services (0.40 per cent), restaurant & hotels (0.29 per cent), alcoholic beverage, tobacco & kola (0.26 per cent), recreation & culture (0.17 per cent) and communication (0.16 per cent).

Food insecurity has been a major problem for many Nigerians, where 60 per cent of income is spent on feeding. Last month, Mr Tinubu declared an immediate State of Emergency on food insecurity to tackle the increase in food prices.

He also directed that “all matters pertaining to food & water availability and affordability, as essential livelihood items, be included within the purview of the National Security Council.”

And in a public address on July 31, he announced some set of measures to cushion the impact of his policie on the people. With over N500 billion in intervention, he said his government will support businesses, the working class, and the most vulnerable citizens.

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