In a recent letter to the National Assembly, Bola Tinubu sought approval for a 500 billion Naira palliative intervention fund.
Table of Contents
The proposed policy aims to provide 8,000 Naira to 12 million indigent Nigerian families for six months.
Supporters of the president have defended the proposal, but a closer look at the proposed palliative program will reveal that the funds will not ameliorate the plight of suffering, vulnerable Nigerians.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 40.1% of Nigeria’s population lives below the poverty line, which translates to over 82.9 million Nigerians. Assuming that the average household size in urban areas is four people, each household would receive 8,000 Naira per month, with each head per house receiving 2,000 Naira per month. If one divides it by thirty days, it will translate into 66 Naira per day per head.
Invariably, Bola Tinubu provides 66 Naira daily for six months to the poor and vulnerable. This has left so many questions unanswered. To what extent will 66 Naira ameliorate the plight of the subsidy effect, which has caused petrol prices to triple? How can 66 Naira help cushion the effects of inflation and the rise in the price of staple foods? Can this meagre sum contribute towards a decent meal? Is this another spending spree specifically meant to reward loyalists, as done by the previous administration? Can this palliative “palliate” us out of the penury and hunger that have berserked the nation?
The current economic climate suggests otherwise. The price of petrol at 500 Naira, high electricity tariffs, biting inflation, high food prices, an over 30% unemployment rate, low purchasing power, and all other negative economic indices do not suggest a great economy. If an individual has only 2000 Naira to spend for an entire month, that amounts to just 66.67 naira per day, which is very insignificant to affect the beneficiaries of this largess.
Sixty-six Naira cannot even buy one piece of firewood, gas, or kero needed to cook, not to mention the food itself. To APC supporters who have been fervently praying for this government to favour them and their families, this handout is, yet, not enough to render such favour!
- 500 Billion Palliative: NLC, TUC Kicks Against It
- 500 Billion Palliative: No Database To Identify Beneficiaries – Anchor Insurance Boss
Nigeria’s unemployment rate was 33.3% as of the second quarter of 2021, with men facing a higher unemployment rate of 35.2% compared to women at 31.2%. This means that over one-third of Nigeria’s labour force is unemployed. The underemployment rate is also high, at 22.8%. This means that many Nigerians are struggling to find work and support themselves and their families.
The proposed policy would provide support to only 12 million families, representing about 5.4% of the Nigerian population. This leaves out a significant portion of the population that is also in need of assistance. Why spend over half a trillion Naira on just 5.4% of our population? Five hundred billion can provide 24 hours of power supply to over 50 industrial clusters nationwide, contributing immensely to measurable economic growth.
While the proposed policy may provide temporary relief to some families, it does not address the multidimensional poverty plaguing Nigeria. Deep structural reforms are urgently needed to address the root causes of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria. This government’s proposed policy may bring temporary relief, but it will not favour the majority of Nigerians who are struggling to make ends meet. It is time for real change and sustainable solutions.
Nigerians Further Analysis: Poor Thinking or Houdini?
A lot of questions come to mind as a Nigerian when you hear N500 billion for palliative care and how much will be handed to the benefactors. Eight thousand naira for 12 million households is quite a laughable thing to think about. In a country of over 200 million people, it is not ridiculous enough that less than 10% of the country’s total population will benefit from this white elephant project, but even more, so that the benefactors will have almost nothing to use the handout for by the time it arrives.
How will this money be distributed to beneficiaries without ending up in the pockets of our thieving, insatiable politicians? As Nigerians, we know how delicious money tastes on the palates of animals; we have heard stories about monkeys and snakes swallowing mints. It is only wise that we learn from the past.
Our economy needs to create jobs, and this will be a mere mirage if the government fails to provide critical infrastructure like power. The issue of power cannot be overemphasized. A smart move after the subsidy would have been an investment in the power sector to ensure that people and even businesses spend less money on fuel, thereby reducing the cost of running a business, which will in turn account for extra money to be spent on expansion plans for small businesses to thrive.
The chunk of 500 billion Naira that is put into projects that encourage resource production and human development will do more for the economy than the one split into tiny bits of eight thousand Naira solely meant for consumption and randomly shared among 12 million households, a ludicrously minute percentage of the total population.
After six months of palliative care, what next?
The story ends, and there will be no more suffering; by six months, the 12 million households will have been too overfed to worry about food for the rest of their lives. The money will have been properly put back into the economy, and the other almost 200 million citizens will have benefited from their friends who were lucky enough to qualify one way or another. The economy will boom, and infrastructure will be in place. What irony!
What happens after six months, when the palliative care must have finished? Is this the Last Supper? Considering all that has happened over the past few years, is this a win the battle and lose the war situation? Because it looks like someone is fighting hard to get something from someone or some people, as the case may be. This is hardly even poor thinking; this is a magical move to disappear from something—the act of a Houdini.
The public seems to be seduced by the palliative fund, which is allegedly meant to counter the effect of subsidy, but a closer look at it would prove to the world that the initiated project is just not what is needed at this point in Nigeria, considering the difficulties in meeting one’s needs.
What is The Essence of Palliative if Not To Extenuate and Mitigate Poverty?
With the so-called “Renewed hope,” which is starting to look like a renewed hardship, the Nigerian government under the reign of Bola Tinubu has now misinterpreted what palliative should serve for the people. Giving Eight thousand Naira each to 12 million families in the next six months is just a waste of resources and a new way of redirecting government funds to some specific pockets to fill their own mouths.
President Buhari spent trillions of Naira on social investment programs like school feeding programs, conditional cash transfers, trader money, NPOWER, and others, yet over 50 million Nigerians slid into poverty during this period. Bola Tinubu, just as he promised to continue from where Buhari stopped, will now continue to hand trillions of Naira to his cronies under the guise of fighting poverty.
Having looked critically into the supposed Eight thousand Naira palliative for a family, it is now obvious that it does not cater for anything reasonable but proves to be another policy somersault. A food seller in present-day Nigeria won’t even sell the tiniest piece of meat for 50 Naira. A poor family of three can’t even use Eight thousand Naira to feed themselves in this present Nigeria for three days, not to mention a week. An average family of five can’t even feed themselves with 8,000 Naira for two days.
The best palliative the government can give to all Nigerians is to reduce the cost of governance, reduce the unnecessary pillage of government funds, and block loopholes where government officials loot. We want palliative measures that will reduce the exorbitant allowances and emoluments of lawmakers, their convoys, and the routine of aides. The palliatives we seek are ones that will be beneficial to all Nigerians, irrespective of class or social status.