No To N2.4 trillion cash handouts

President Muhammadu Buhari of Federal Republic of Nigeria
President Muhammadu Buhari of Federal Republic of Nigeria

Abu Mahmud Ahmad, Kano.

“‘Nigerians are being deceived on the issue of fuel subsidy, the federal government takes out fuel for refining, only to come back and talk about removing the subsidy. That is nonsense and an attempt by a clique with the PDP led the federal government to siphon the proceeds to be realized from the removal of oil subsidy”.

General Buhari’s statement in 2012 says the following;

Before buttressing my argument on cash handouts to the poor, that may cost the government 2.4 trillion naira a year ($5.8 billion) in a bid to replace fuel subsidy. Let set the record straight, there are no administrations in the history of the country that carry out several welfarism policies like President Muhammadu Buhari‘s administration aimed at alleviating pains include; the Conditional Cash Transfer in the market; the N-Power scheme that pays N30,000 stipend to youths to enhance their skills; financial bailout to all states governments in the federation, and the federal government spent more than N2.3trillion as a stimulus package to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and Hundred billions to anchor borrowers Recently National Economic Council (NEC) said President Buhari has approved a fresh N656 billion Bridge Financing Facility for the 36 States as each state will receive N18.2 billion. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning said the support was to help state governments to meet their financial obligations, especially the previous budget support facility due for repayment.

However, the lists of current administration support programs all aimed at alleviating pains to the strata of the society at same times to create social safety nets for the impoverished and vulnerable peoples of the society but the programs did not make much in fact to target beneficiaries. Even with subsidies regime in the oil sector but getting on with daily lives is pretty difficult vulnerable peoples, considering, skyrocketing prices of good and services in addition with alarming unemployment, inclement economic conditions.

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I don’t think, there is any logic for the administration to spend more than what the subsidy wouldn’t have cost the country. Nigerians argue that the supposed benefit would amount to a colossal loss as the expenditure would be higher than the 2021 subsidy expenses and is like sell dogs to buy monkeys.

Nigerians may recall, in 2012, President, Goodluck’s administration attempted to removed fuel subsidy which had hit bricks as Nigerians and members of then opposition now the ruling party, opposed the decision, accusing the then PDP adminstration of planning to siphon the proceeds realized. PMB makes Nigerians to believed that oil subsidy regime is one of the most corrupt system in the country and also most confuse policy in the mind of Nigerians.

In May, 2016, then State Minister for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu had announced the removal of subsidy on petrol, fixing the new pump price at N145 per litre from N86.50k and later to N165. Exactly one year after the coming of the administration to power. Going by the state minister admission the subsidy has been removed with it’s current pump price at N165.

As the progressive administration promis that it would free Nigeria from being forced to subsidise a lavish lifestyle of elites Nigerians at the expense of ordinary but the administration has continue doing exactly what it opposed paying surprisingly, the administration continued subsidy payments

Even when it was announced that it had withdrawn the policy in May 2016 but since then, it has been confusion galore, as the Federal Government keeps paying huge subsidies after several announcements of “full deregulation. In spite with announcement of fuel subsidies removal Nigerians remind confused who subsidy who as the GMB than making poor Nigerian to believe there is nothing like subsidy and the regime in it totality but a SCAM.

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How can 5,000 naira each will alleviate hardship to poor considering the prices of foodstuffs are increase daily without control. Even those opportune one (workers) things are very pretty tough considering the meagre nature of the minimum wage talks less of millions peoples out work.

To buttress my argument there is need for the administration to think wisely not to introduce new new subsidy regime in disguise. In spite oil subsidies regime remains unsustainable and economically disingenuous. Did the administration wants to scrap fuel subsidies because the nation’s budget can no longer contain the financial burden. Why the administration policy shuffle always one step forward, and backward.

I am averse to this cash transfer of five thousand because is not a solutions. How this Cash support programs can reach intending target beneficiaries in a nation where millions don’t have bank accounts.

Did the administration realise there is a stack difference between the number of account holders and the active accounts in Nigeria. Let the administration apply more sustainable long running scheme that could touch lives beyond.

How the administration will ensure the process will be transparent like those Cash support programs from Togo to India which have helped these countries poor.

Let the administration find lasting solution in reduction cost of governance which will help to save more money as the the cost of governance in the country is too high compared to the developed world. Let the administration understand that there is no prescription that every nation has to meet its food self sufficiency needs from domestic production.

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One of the easiest ways in alleviating pains to the strata of the society, as a matter of urgency, Nigeria government should revisit the policy of reducing the importation of food, especially now. If the administration give a corridor for food importation the anticipations miserable will be control and it show the leaders have empathy to the citizens suffering.

With current insecurity and hardships in the country millions citizens are not truly feel to be Nigerian they would have prefer if they were born in other countries, and even regret being Nigerian. Is this not the current administration had publicly opposed subsidies regime executed by successors administration Is the administration fantastically confused?

Why the administration that pontifications of transparency and accountability will wants to execute new policy of cash handout is like an oil wine in the new bottle.

Are they understand that million citizens has lost confidence and expectations for the country especially as its become clear that daily survival has become an uphill challenges as the peoples are languishing in extreme hardship under progressive change voted for.

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Lastly for those close to the corridor of power always don’t want to hear that the perceive messiah is yet to figure out on how to improve the citizens well being, strengthening the economic policies that will allow foreign investors to come not a policy that would make investors moving out to neighboring countries due to policies uncertainty.

Abu Mahmud Ahmad wrote in from Kano.

About Yahaya Idris 7721 Articles
Yahaya Idris is a freelance reporter and Chief Executive Officer Global Times Nigeria. Idris is an undergraduate student of the famous Federal University Lokoja, Kogi State, Nigeria.

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