FG proposes N5000 monthly transport grant to indigent Nigerians, removes fuel subsidy

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*Ahmed

The federal government has targeted 30-40 million indigent Nigerians to benefit from a monthly N5000 transport grant as it sets to remove fuel subsidy before June 2022.

The minister of finance, budget and national planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this yesterday at the launch of the World Bank Nigeria Development Update (NDU) in Abuja.

She said 30 to 40 million Nigerians make up the poorest population of the country.

The minister further said although the move is set for June 2022, the federal government hoped to remove the subsidy before June, in line with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

She added that the available resources after the removal of fuel subsidy will determine the number of beneficiaries.

“The subsidies regime in the (oil) sector remains unsustainable and economically disingenuous.

“Ahead of the target date of mid-2022 for the complete elimination of fuel subsidies, we are working with our partners on measures to cushion potential negative impact of the removal of the subsidies on the most vulnerable at the bottom 40 per cent of the population.

“One of such measures would be to institute a monthly transport subsidy in the form of cash transfer of N5, 000 to between 30 – 40 million deserving Nigerians.

“As a government, we remain committed to our broad objectives of stimulating broad-based growth through diversification and the active participation of the private sector to ensure that our growth is inclusive.

“We will continue to prioritise investment in critical infrastructure needed to unlock production and supply constraints, to create adequate productive employment and preserve jobs, and to ensure macroeconomic stability and promote poverty reduction and equity.

“I agree with the Report that with the expansion of social protection policies during the pandemic, the government has an opportunity to phase out subsidies such as the PMS subsidy while utilising cash transfers to safeguard the welfare of poor and middle-class households.

“Towards this end, we intend to accelerate our structural reforms, particularly in the power sector, in governance, in business environment to unlock the huge potentials of the economy, scale up social safety net and deepen financial inclusion to reduce poverty and inequality gaps. We will carefully calibrate the sequencing of these reforms to manage their attendant political fallouts,” she said.

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