The National Economic Council (NEC) has set up a committee to review recommendations by the National Salaries and Wages Commission in cushioning the impact of fuel subsidy removal.
The NEC, at its first meeting which was presided over by Vice President Kashim Shettima, said the committee should review the N702 billion recommended as a cost of living allowance to civil servants to ease the burden of the subsidy removal.
The committee which comprises governors from each geo-political zone is chaired by Nasir Idris, governor of Kebbi.
Bala Mohammed, Governor of Bauchi, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, said the commission also recommended “N23 billion or N25 billion monthly offer to cushion the effect on workers”.
“The NEC had received recommendations on the various ways and means that the country can use whatever increases that we have in the revenue to mitigate the impact that this is going to make on the lives of our workers,” he said.
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“And so they recommended that there should be a consequential adjustment, estimated at N702.92 billion as part of the allowances that should be given as petroleum allowance to all workers and as well as N23 or N25 billion monthly offer to cushion the effect on workers.
“In addition to the palliative, the government looked at all the issues, challenges and problems holistically and set up a small committee of the council to review and come up with a term of reference to organise areas specifically where this palliative can come from and how it will be dispensed to alleviate the problem of workers and other vulnerable groups.
“We will 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 is being encountered by the removal of the subsidy.”
Mohammed added that the council received other suggestions to review salaries and wages.
On 7 June, following the announcement of the petrol subsidy removal, President Bola Tinubu directed the NEC to kickstart the process of working on interventions to ameliorate the impact of the subsidy removal on the people.
Speaking also, Umar Radda, Governor of Katsina, said NEC focused its discussions on how to provide palliative measures through the NG-Cares programme.
“As you are aware, the NG-Cares programme is a programme that started in 2021 running up to 2024. And then is to provide some emergency on palliatives, social needs on so many issues ranging from small farmers holders, MSMEs and other interventions,” he said.
“It’s a $750 million from the World Bank-assisted funds and it commenced a long time ago. 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 the 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.”