Tinubu’s request of N500bn for palliatives to Nigerians commendable – Expert

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A financial expert, Prof. Uche Uwaleke, has praised President Bola Tinubu’s request for legislative approval of N500 billion as palliatives to offset the impact of the removal of petrol subsidy. Prof. Uwaleke, a Professor of Capital Market at Nasarawa State University, Keffi, expressed his support for the request in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria. He urged the National Assembly to give the request favorable consideration as quickly as possible. He also advised the Federal Government to consider non-cash palliatives as part of the relief measures.

While the specific nature of the palliatives was not indicated, Prof. Uwaleke suggested that the government should explore non-cash options in utilizing the funds. He mentioned that Nigeria had secured a $800 million soft loan from the World Bank, which is expected to be distributed as cash to approximately 10 million households, amounting to about N600 billion when converted. He proposed dividing this amount by 774, which would give around N1.4 billion per Local Government Area (LGA). This approach would ensure that the money reaches the grassroots and aligns with the principle of maximum social benefit in public expenditure.

Prof. Uwaleke also highlighted the importance of creating sustainable jobs as an optimal way to alleviate suffering. He suggested utilizing a portion of the funds as initial capital to establish skill acquisition centers in each LGA. This initiative would generate significant job opportunities and help reverse rural-urban migration. The management of the funds would be entrusted to the communities themselves, utilizing traditional and religious institutions. Additionally, he recommended that the government collaborate with the private sector to address mass transit challenges.

President Bola Tinubu’s letter to the National Assembly seeks an amendment to the 2022 supplementary appropriation Act to allow the Federal Government to source N500 billion for palliatives. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, read the president’s letter during plenary, stating that the funds would be sourced from the 2022 supplementary Appropriation Act of N819.5 billion.

The suggestions put forward by Prof. Uwaleke emphasize the importance of efficient and effective utilization of the palliative funds to ensure maximum impact and benefit for the citizens. It remains to be seen how the National Assembly will respond to the president’s request and how the funds will be allocated and managed to address the challenges faced by the Nigerian population.

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