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*NEC proposes palliatives for workers, vulnerable groups over subsidy 

*Mulls payment of N702bn to civil servants as cost of living allowance 

*FG seeks World Bank funds to implement CNG 

*President appoints Ribadu, Edun, Alake, five others special advisers 

*Meets with Abdulsalami, Sanusi, Akande at State House  

*Ex-head of state pleads for people’s understanding over subsidy removal


President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, listed eight priority areas for urgent attention, saying the task of turning around Nigeria’s economy from the age-long status of “potential to pragmatic” has started with the removal of fuel subsidy and unification of exchange rates.
Tinubu spoke at the State House, Abuja, while inaugurating the National Economic Council (NEC), an advisory body comprising the 36 governors, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and other stakeholders. He urged governors across the 36 states to support the mission.
The NEC, chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima, proposed palliatives for workers and vulnerable groups in the country, to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal, in strict adherence to the president’s order. Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, who disclosed this, said the council considered recommendations from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission to pay N702 billion as cost of living allowance to civil servants as part of the intervention plans.

Mohammed also announced the setting up of a committee by NEC to work out, within two weeks, modalities for organising and distributing the palliatives. He noted that the council also discussed the possibility of obtaining funds from the World Bank and London partners to implement the programme of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for vehicles in the country as part of measures to bring down the price of fuel.
Meanwhile, Tinubu appointed Nuhu Ribadu, Dele Alake, Wale Edun, and five others as Special Advisers, more than two weeks after his inauguration as president.
The president, also yesterday, held a meeting with former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar; deposed Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi; and former Osun State Governor, Chief Bisi Akande, at State House, Abuja.
Inaugurating the NEC, the president called for collective frameworks that would stimulate a buoyant economy that meets the needs of the poor and vulnerable. He assured the governors that his government would address the issues that devalued the lives of Nigerians, with a focus on security, economy, jobs, agriculture, infrastructure, monetary policy, and fuel subsidy.


According to him, “It is worthy of note that the monthly meeting of NEC, chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima, has remained officially the economic platform for robust dialogue among the federal government, the 36 governors, the CBN, and other key stakeholders.
“In my inaugural speech of May 29th, 2023, I expressed this administration’s commitment to improving the lives of Nigerians in a manner that not just reflects our humanity, but encourages compassion towards one another and duly rewards our collective efforts to resolve the social ills that seek to divide us.
“I also listed the principles that will guide our administration and it is as follows: to be impartial and govern according to the constitution and ensure the rule of law; to defend the nation from terror and all forms of criminality; to promote economic growth and development through job creation, food security and putting an end to poverty.

“To prominently feature women and youths in all our activities to take proactive steps, such as championing a credit culture, and to discourage corruption while strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of various anti-corruption agencies.”
The president noted that policies and programmes of the government would be driven by compassion for the less privileged and more inclusivity, and women and youths would be involved in the design and implementation of programmes that impact their lives.
He stated, “It is evident that the task of growing our economy is enormous, but you and I asked for it. We campaigned for it, we even danced for it, we begged for it, so we have no reason to complain. We must harness the growth potential of Nigeria and bring about serious development that will take us from ‘a potential nation’ to a pragmatic economic development in a rapid manner.”
Tinubu urged NEC to stimulate ideas, through robust discussions, that would improve the livelihood of Nigerians, while highlighting the need for interventions on poverty.


“Members of this country are behind us, they want reform and they want it quick to impact their lives,” he added.
Rallying the governors for national development, the president said, “Collaboration is not a crime, please, let’s do it.” He noted that the three tiers of government would need to be involved in economic development, in order to ensure inclusiveness, collectivity, and ownership of policies and programmes.
Tinubu said, “The National Economic Council was established by the provision of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended. As one of the key bodies of the federal government, NEC has the mandate to advise the president on the economic affairs of the federation on appropriate measures for coordination of economic plans and programmes of the government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.”
Tinubu emphasised that significant steps had been taken by ending fuel subsidies and unifying the foreign exchange rates.
He said, “This government will continue to transform the fortunes of our nation and bring about unprecedented development through good governance. We are committed to sustainable initiatives and programmes that will stimulate the rejuvenation of the economy without causing inflation. The plans and ideas we have presented, underscore our confidence and ability to meet the challenges of the day and pave the way for a better future.”

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NEC Proposes Palliatives for Workers, Vulnerable Groups

 The National Economic Council (NEC) proposed palliatives for workers and vulnerable groups in the country, to cushion the dire effects of fuel subsidy removal. This was in line with Tinubu’s directive a fortnight ago that the NEC should come up with palliatives to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal carried out upon his assumption of office on May 29.
Disclosing the outcome of the NEC meeting, Mohammed said the council considered recommendations from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission to pay N702 billion as cost of living allowance to civil servants as part of the intervention plans.
The Bauchi State governor also announced the setting up of a committee by NEC to work out, within two weeks, the modalities for organising and distributing the palliatives.
Mohammed, who was joined by four other governors, Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Dikko Radda (Katsina), Alex Otti (Abia), and Yahaya Bello (Kogi), also stated that the interventions included a recommended sum, ranging from N23.5bn to N45bn per month, as petroleum allowance for civil servants.
He explained that the council also discussed the possibility of obtaining funds from the World Bank and London partners to implement the programme of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for vehicles in the country as part of measures to bring down the price of fuel.

The governor stated, “Various scenarios were given by the presenter on the issue of national salaries, income and wages and this N702 billion plus was suggested as an allowance for the cost of living adjustment allowance by the organised labour and the other one is a petroleum allowance.
“The governor of Ogun has told you that there are other allowances here and there, but with regard to labour, these are some of the few allowances that they have suggested and that of petroleum, they said will range from N23.5 billion to n45 billion per month, depending on what is in the kitty for distribution or for sharing.
“So, the N702 billion is a suggested sum for labour to cushion the effect on workers on a new allowance that will be tagged cost of living adjustment allowance.”
Mohammed added that the council looked at all the issues, including, “The challenges and problems holistically and set up a small committee of the council to review and come up with a term of reference to organised areas, specifically, where these palliatives can come and how it will be dispensed to alleviate the problem of workers and other vulnerable groups.


“Members of the committee are composed of the governor of Kebbi as Chairman; Anambra, representing the South-east geo-political zone; governor of Benue, North-central; governor of Kaduna, North-west; my humble self, Bauchi, representing the North-east; governor Cross River, South-south; and Oyo State, South-west.
“Other relevant agencies were also included. They comprised of a budget office, representative of the CBN, representative of the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, representative of NNPC, representative of TUC and NLC, and, of course, Rukayat El-Rufai, so that we can sit within two weeks to come up with a recommendation to NEC for a holistic decision that will be taken immediately to alleviate the problem that may be encountered by the removal of the subsidy.”
The Bauchi State governor said the input of the committee on palliatives, set up by the previous administration and headed by former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, would not be discarded but integrated into the ongoing process.

Speaking, too, Abiodun disclosed that the oil sector, represented by the officials of Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), made suggestions on how to reduce the price of petrol to the council.
According to the governor, DAPPMAN urged the government to reduce the taxes being collected by Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and other government agencies on petroleum products. He added that the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Mele Kyari, reported that the company noticed that with the subsidy removal, the cost of fuel in the neighbouring countries had jumped up, and that those neighbouring countries had been relying on subsidised fuel from Nigeria.


Abiodun revealed that the NNPC boss suggested that Nigeria should begin to export fuel to its neighbours with less capacity to import the product.
He stated, “The GCEO of NNPC says the position of NNPC now, used to be in the active trade, actually trading petroleum products to the neighbouring countries, since they do not have the wherewithal to import petroleum products.
“We decided that we would have a sub-committee of NEC on oil and gas that will look at the issues that have been brought to the fore by the marketers, by the regulator, by NNPC to ensure that we harmonise, report back to NEC and if NEC adopts, it we will presented to Mr. President.”
The governor equally revealed that the price of petrol would drop by N40 when the local refineries begin to work at full capacity.
Governor Dikko Radda of Katsina State affirmed that the government had approached the World Bank for more funds for the NG-Cares programme to mitigate the effect of subsidy removal.

According to Radda, “As you are aware, the NG-Cares Programme is a programme that started 2021, and running up to 2024. And then, it’s to provide some emergency on palliatives, social needs on so many issues, ranging from small farmers holders, MSMEs and other interventions. It’s $750 million from the World Bank, and it commenced a long time ago.
“And some of the recommendations that were made include the state cares platforms having a strong capacity to handle the implementation of palliative to the new and existing poor and vulnerable individuals, household and farmers, and local economy of operators in the country.
“Additional funding can be sourced from the federal government, World Bank, development partners, as well as Nigerian private sector. In specific, the World Bank can be approached for additional financing on NG-Cares programme. Discussion can start as soon as possible.
“So these are the recommendations that were made. And the economic council will pursue these recommendations for the benefit of the Nigerian vulnerable and the poor.”

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Abia State Governor Alex Otti said NEC looked at the issue of providing legislative support to local automotive manufacturers following a presentation made to it by the National Automotive Design and Development Council.
While noting that the effect of subsidy removal had increased prices, he said the presentation dwelt on ways to solve the problem and reduce shock.
Otti stated that some of the local vehicle manufacturers had already gone into the production of CNG and electric automobiles, which could reduce the pressure on petrol, noting the need to support them through legislation.
He stated, “At the moment, about 50,000 jobs have been created by this simple act of either assembling vehicles in Nigeria or producing them in Nigeria. A great feat is that some of these companies have gone into the manufacturing or assembly of electric vehicles and vehicles powered by CNG – compressed natural gas.
“The impact of this is that the pressure on the price of petroleum products, particularly PMS, will be reduced the more we use electric vehicles and CNG-powered vehicles. Some of the decisions that we have taken include that legislative support will need to be given to these companies that are doing great things in Nigeria.
“It is important to underscore the point that the former president had made a commitment that by 2060 that Nigeria would join countries that will eliminate fossil fuel-powered vehicles and move to electric vehicles in pursuit of the net zero emission that some of the countries in Europe, America and Asia have signed on to.

“So, if that must happen, then we need to ramp up the production of electric vehicles and CNG vehicles. It is estimated that if we give legislative support to these companies that about a million jobs from the 50,000 jobs that exist in that industry would be created.
“It was also suggested that the funding that is required by most of these vehicle manufacturers and assemblers shall be made available to them so that we begin to reduce the dependence on PMS and other fossil fuel-powered vehicles.”
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State disclosed that NEC also spoke on the need to alleviate the suffering caused by the 2022 flood disaster in the country through the timely release of funds as recommended by various committees.


Bello said NEC regretted the delay by many of the states affected by the disaster in forwarding their submissions to the secretariat.
While noting the position of NEC, Bello said, “The plight of victims of the unfortunate flood disaster across affected states of the federation could be alleviated if the much-needed intervention from the federal government materialised without further delay.
“There is, therefore, the need to expedite the release of funds to affected states as recommended by designated committees constituted by the federal government to that effect.
“This will go a long way in addressing the needs of the victims as well as offset debts incurred by some states to assist the victims.”
The governor stated that given the threat of flood this year, NEC resolved that all states should make a comprehensive submission by next week.

Tinubu Meets Abdulsalami, Sanusi, Akande at State House


President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, met with former Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar; deposed Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi; and former Osun State Governor, Chief Bisi Akande, at State House, Abuja.
Speaking with newsmen after the meeting with the president, Abdulsalami called on Nigerians to embrace peace and support Tinubu’s administration to succeed.

He pleaded with the people to endure the temporary hardship of fuel subsidy removal, and assured that the government would put palliatives in place to cushion the effect.

Sanusi, who was deposed as the 14th traditional ruler of the ancient Kano kingdom, was on arrival ushered straight into a closed-door meeting with the president.

The visit of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) came barely a week after the president suspended Godwin Emefiele as CBN governor.  


On his part, Akande told newsmen that he was at the villa to greet the president.

On what to expect from the president, the pioneer national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said, “People will expect the rejigging of our party, the APC, and the re-establishment of good governance in Nigeria. And it should go on record that the APC brings good governance to Nigeria.”

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