Subsidy removal: Kogi stakeholders demand urgent distribution of palliatives to citizens
IDRIS AHMED, Lokoja.
Worried by the prevalent hardship caused largely by the removal of subsidy on petrol, stakeholders in Kogi state drawn from various organizations, have urged the government to provide palliatives to vulnerable citizens to alleviate their suffering.
The group stressed the need for the government to provide grants for small scale businesses to cushion the effects of the removal of petrol subsidy on their businesses
A communique Issued at the end of a one-day stakeholders’ town hall meeting on fuel subsidy removal, organized by Kogi Non Governmental Organisations Network (KONGONET), held on Thursday at New Age Hall, Lokoja, said there is an urgent need for the Kogi State Government to set up an all-inclusive committee to fashion out method of palliatives distribution.
They suggested that the committee be made up of representatives from all stakeholders in the state, such as Labour Unions, NGOs, Civil Society Organisations, Women group, Youths, Security agencies and People With Disabilities.
The communique signed by Ambassador Idris Ozovehe Muraina, Chairperson of KONGONET and Hamza Aliyu, Executive Director, Initiative for Grassroot Advancement, (INGRA), said the one-day meeting was held to develop a charter of demand for stakeholders to engage the State Government in the process of palliative distribution to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal.
The meeting had in attendance representatives from the organized private sector, religious bodies, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Government representatives, Pensioners, Legislative arm of Government, Persons with Disabilities, Youth leaders, Women Groups, Farmers Organizations, Organized Labour, and the Media.
They called on the state Ministry of Information and Communication to immediately set up a modality for periodic information sharing on government activities to create awareness.
While calling on the the State Government to scale up the NG-CARES it had initiated to cater for the less privileged, the group urged the State Government to as as a matter of urgency, ensure effective implementation of the Disability Law to provide a platform for inclusion in the state palliative measures.
The communique noted that a key strategy for palliative administration should involve the development of Rural Infrastructures, especially roads, housing and Primary Health Care (PHC).
“We call on the government to immediately set in motion mechanisms for improving Rural Infrastructures.
“The State and Local governments must as a matter of urgency put in place a viable and accessible mass transportation system that includes marine, road, and rail options/alternatives, while partnering with the private sector,” parts of the document read.
Government is also advised on salary increases and other welfare packages for workers and Pensioners to be done with consideration on the attendant effect it has on the economy.
“There is a need for the government to check the incessant increase in the cost of food in the state through creation of a functional Market Board or resuscitate the Kogi State Consumers Shops.
Government should subsidize agricultural inputs for farmers to boost food production across the state, while the Social Register of vulnerable persons should be updated to reflect the reality on ground, and should be adopted by the State in palliative administration.