Federal Government Initiates Distribution of 180 Trucks of Rice to States in Response to Subsidy Removal Crisis

In response to the economic challenges stemming from the subsidy removal policy, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has commenced preparations for the distribution of 180 trucks of rice to various states. The distribution plan was set into motion based on recommendations made by the National Economic Council.

Last Thursday, the Federal Government unveiled a N5 billion palliative package for each state across the federation, along with 180 trucks of rice. These measures are aimed at alleviating the adverse effects of the subsidy removal policy, which resulted in significant and multiple hikes in fuel pump prices. Consequently, the prices of essential goods and services skyrocketed, driving a considerable number of Nigerians into poverty and exacerbating the country’s socio-economic challenges.

The N5 billion grant to each state, as announced by Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum during the conclusion of the 135th National Economic Council meeting chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima, is intended to enable state governments to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize, and fertilizers. This allocation is aimed at mitigating the impact of food scarcity nationwide.

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Governor Zulum further emphasized that, recognizing the urgency of addressing escalating food costs, the Federal Government had already dispatched five trucks of rice to each state in the previous week. This initial response was intended to provide some immediate relief to the dire situation.

In light of these developments, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was tasked with overseeing the movement of the allocated commodities to states. In addition to this, NEMA will be responsible for distributing relief materials to communities in states bordering Nigeria and Niger Republic.

Ezekiel Manzo, the spokesperson for NEMA, clarified that the process of lifting the rice trucks had not yet commenced, but preparations were well underway to carry out the directive effectively. He emphasized that NEMA was fully prepared to execute the distribution directive once all arrangements were finalized and communicated.

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The National Economic Council meeting last Thursday also outlined the distribution strategy for the rice and other modalities of the program. The Council expressed significant concerns about the escalating costs of food items and transportation due to the subsidy removal. To mitigate these challenges, the Federal Government’s allocation of N5 billion to each state aims to procure essential food items and fertilizers. This funding will be shared between the states and local government areas, with 52 percent provided as grants and the remaining 48 percent to be repaid to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in installments over a 20-month period.

As the nation grapples with the consequences of subsidy removal, these efforts represent a concerted attempt by the Federal Government to provide tangible relief to Nigerians and stabilize the socio-economic landscape.

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