To assuage the anger of Nigerians over the increase in the price of premium motor spirit to N145 a litre, the Muhammadu Buhari administration has rolled out palliative measures running into half a trillion naira.
Over eight million Nigerians will benefit from the programmes scheduled to begin in a matter of weeks.
Highlights of the palliatives are:
*5.5 million school children to be fed for 200 school days in first phase of homegrown school feeding programme
*Over 1.6 million Nigerian traders, market women, men, artisans to receive loans.
*1 million extremely poor and vulnerable Nigerians to receive N60,000 this year in 12 months payments of N5000 each.
All together the federal government would be directly impacting the lives of more than 8 million Nigerians in different social investment 2016 budget spending that would provide succor and be a ready-made palliative to ordinary Nigerians.
This disclosure was made last night by the Senior Special Assistant for Media & Publicity to the President, Mr. Laolu Akande, in an interaction with the press in Abuja.
He gave new details and a breakdown of the interventions and palliatives, some of which he said would be starting in a matter of weeks thus:
1.*the direct payment of N5000 monthly to one million extremely poor Nigerians for 12 months as provided for in the 2016 budget for which N$68.7B has been appropriated.
2*the direct provision of very soft loan -cash for market women, men and traders, including artisans and Agric workers. This would be for a total of 1.76m Nigerians, without the requirement for conventional collateral. Some of the traders will likely get about N60,000. A total sum of N140.3B has already been appropriated for this in the budget,
3*payment of between N23,000 to N30,000 per month to 500,000 unemployed graduates who would be trained, paid and deployed to work as volunteer teachers, public health officers and extension service workers among other responsibilities.
-They would also be given electronic devices to empower them technologically both for their assignments and beyond
-similarly 100,000 artisans would also be trained and paid
N191.5B has been set aside for this in the passed budget.
4. At least 5.5 million Nigerian primary school children -ie starting first in 18 states-three per geopolitical zones-would be fed for 200 school days under the free Homegrown School Feeding Programme. N93.1B has been appropriated for this in the 2016 budget.
5. 100,000 tertiary students in Science Technology Engineering & Maths-STEM, plus Education will partake in the N5.8B already provided for this education grant in the budget. This payment would also be paid directly to the students.
When added together this year alone, more than 8 million Nigerians would be benefiting from the Social Investment budget.
Akande who works from the Office of the Vice President said the N500B social investement programmes of the Buhari administration is a ready made palliative to lift Nigerians from poverty and economic hardship.
“Long before now the Presidency has made adequate arrangements in the 2016 budget to ensure that Nigerians are lifted from poverty and hardship,” the spokesperson stated.
This will not only assuage the current pains arising from the new fuel pricing regime, but will provide ongoing social safety nets for over 8 million Nigerians this year alone, according to Akande.
He added that this is beside the jobs that would be created by the infrastructural projects that would be restored and the new ones that would soon be taking off.
Said he: “the Buhari presidency is keen to ensure that Nigerians are lifted and that if necessary on an ongoing basis palliatives measures would always been considered to address the conditions of the people.”