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Subsidy Removal: Tinubu Says N1tn Saved, Plans Salary Review, N100bn CNG Buses, Others

The programmes are to be funded with N500 billion approved from an $800 million World Bank loan earlier requested by former President Muhammadu Buhari.


FILE: President Bola Tinubu during a national broadcast on Monday, July 31, 2023 .

 

President Bola Tinubu on Monday announced several palliative programmes to cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy by his administration.

The initiatives come in the wake of mounting hardship resulting from Tinubu’s inauguration day declaration that “fuel subsidy is gone”.

Prices of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), or petrol, have since tripled from below N200 per litre in two months since he took office on May 29, prompting protest calls by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

In an apparent effort to alleviate the pain of millions of Nigerians, the President told Nigerians in a sombre national broadcast that respite had come for farmers, small business owners, and manufacturers, among others.

The programmes are to be funded with N500 billion approved from an $800 million World Bank loan earlier requested by former President Muhammadu Buhari for a national social safety net programme during his government’s twilight months.

Tinubu had planned N8,000 monthly cash transfers to 12 million households spanning six months. However, the controversy that trailed the news led to the Federal Government rescinding such plans with the intention of reviewing its strategy.

 

Manufacturing

Tinubu announced a N75 billion palliative for the manufacturing sector, saying 75 businesses would benefit within a nine-month period spanning the third quarter of 2023 to the first quarter of next year.

“To strengthen the manufacturing sector, increase its capacity to expand and create good-paying jobs, we are going to spend N75 billion between July 2023 and March 2024. 

“Our objective is to fund 75 enterprises with great potential to kick-start a sustainable economic growth, accelerate structural transformation and improve productivity. 

“Each of the 75 manufacturing enterprises will be able to access N1 Billion credit at 9% per annum with maximum of 60 months repayment for long term loans and 12 months for working capital.”

MSMEs

The President also noted the administration’s recognition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and the informal sector as drivers of growth. 

Tinubu went on to declare a N125 billion fund to energise “this very important sector”.

“Out of the sum, we will spend N50 billion on Conditional Grant to 1 million nano businesses between now and March 2024. Our target is to give N50,000 each to 1,300 nano business owners in each of the 774 local governments across the country,” he said.

“Ultimately, this programme will further drive financial inclusion by onboarding beneficiaries into the formal banking system. In like manner, we will fund 100,000 MSMEs and start-ups with N75 billion.

“Under this scheme, each enterprise promoter will be able to get between N500,000 to N1 million at 9% interest per annum and a repayment period of 36 months.”

Agriculture

To boost the agricultural sector, Tinubu disclosed that N200 billion would be spent as part of its plans to support the cultivation of 500,000 hectares of farmland and all-year-round farming practice remains on course.

He said, “To be specific, N200 billion out of the N500 billion approved by the National Assembly will be disbursed as follows: 

“-Our administration will invest N50 billion each to cultivate 150,000 hectares of rice and maize. 

“-N50 billion each will also be earmarked to cultivate 100,000 hectares of wheat and cassava.”

The so-called expansive agricultural programme is aimed at small-holder farmers and leveraging large-scale private sector players in the agricultural business with strong performance records.

Cost-Efficient Mass Transit

Part of the Federal Government’s programme is to roll out buses across the states and local governments for mass transit at a much more affordable rate, Tinubu also stated. 

According to him, provision has been made “to invest N100 billion between now and March 2024 to acquire 3000 units of 20-seater CNG-fuelled buses”.

These buses, he said, would be shared to major transportation companies in the states, using what he referred to as the intensity of travel per capita.

“Participating transport companies will be able to access credit under this facility at 9% per annum with 60 months repayment period,” he said.

Salary Review

“In the same vein, we are also working in collaboration with the Labour unions to introduce a new national minimum wage for workers. I want to tell our workers this: your salary review is coming,” the President said.

“Once we agree on the new minimum wage and general upward review, we will make budget provision for it for immediate implementation.”

Tinubu took the opportunity to salute “many private employers” in the Organised Private Sector whom he said had already implemented general salary reviews for employees.

N1tn Saved

The 71-year-old leader told Nigerians that in a little over two months, the Federal Government had saved “over a trillion Naira which will have been squandered on the unproductive fuel subsidy which only benefitted smugglers and fraudsters”. 

According to him, that money will now be used more directly and more beneficially “for you and your families”. And one of the targets for the savings is the education sector.

“We shall fulfill our promise to make education more affordable to all and provide loans to higher education students who may need them. No Nigerian student will have to abandon his or her education because of lack of money,” he said.

“Our commitment is to promote the greatest good for the greatest number of our people. On this principle, we shall never falter. We are also monitoring the effects of the exchange rate and inflation on gasoline prices. If and when necessary, we will intervene.”