A former Commissioner for Information, Rivers State, Austin Tam-George, says the Federal Government’s subsidy palliatives in light of the fuel subsidy removal should go beyond basic commodities.
“I think palliative care should be understood much more in a complex way than simply distributing bread and beans in local governments. I think when we are talking about palliatives this time, it should be institutionally guided,” Tam-George said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday.
The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, on Friday, said two billion naira had been released to each state from the N5 billion earmarked for palliative in light of the removal of fuel subsidy.
But the former commissioner bemoaned the inadequate social welfare system and said that, in order to facilitate a smooth procedure, the provision of palliatives should first be institutionalized.
“In most states, the Ministry of Social Welfare is not very strong. So, maybe we have an opportunity now in the final analysis to make sure that we institutionalize the distribution of these palliatives,’’ Tam-George said.
According to him, the palliatives won’t be able to alleviate the subsidy removal’s long-term agony and can only be relevant temporarily.
“I would personally prefer the palliatives are not sent in the form of food because that’s not sustainable with seeing that repeatedly across history.
“What I think is that the palliatives – five billion naira I understand they are about to send to the states – should be invested in primary health care delivery systems. We should be invested in education, we should be invested in visible sustainable projects rather than simply giving a few packages of beans and noodles to families as we see are not sustainable,’’ he added.