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Nigerian Politics

Use $800m subsidy palliative for healthcare, education, Rep urges FG

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Use $800m subsidy palliative for healthcare, education, Rep urges FG

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A federal lawmaker from Rivers State, Farah Dagogo, has called on the Federal Government to jettison its planned disbursement of $800 million to about 50 million Nigerians to serve as a cushion for the proposed Premium Motor Spirit subsidy removal.

He said instead the funds should be invested in critical sectors such as education and health that would be beneficial to the majority of Nigerians in the short, medium and long terms.

Dagogo who represents Degema/Bonny (Rivers State) federal constituency in the green chamber of the National Assembly said this in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Friday morning.

The statement which was signed by Dagogo’s media aide, Ibrahim Lawal, noted that though the initiative by the Federal Government was well conceived, he doubted that if it held sway, the transparency of the proposed cash transfers to vulnerable Nigerians couldn’t be guaranteed.

The PUNCH reports that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, during the week said the FG had secured the sum of $800 million from the World Bank, as part of its post-subsidy palliative plans that would be distributed to 10 million households, which according to her was equivalent to about 50 million Nigerians.

But Dagogo, as part of his Easter Message, faulted some of the minister’s comment especially the assertion that the country already had a National Social Register for 10 million vulnerable households through which the $800 million will be distributed.

The federal lawmaker explained that as Nigerians joined the rest of the world to celebrate Easter, the underlying importance of the period which centres on sacrifices by Jesus Christ, ‘should be replicated by ensuring that the workability of the set aside $800 million from the World Bank was adhered to and reflected with transparency and honesty.

The statement partly reads, “As Nigerians are sacrificing their fuel subsidy benefits, it should be for a general improvement in the educational and health sectors not some phantom list of name compilations already fraught with deceit.

“Easter is a period when we Christians devote our time to reflect on the role of Jesus Christ in our lives and resolve to walk the path of moral regeneration.

“This period of grace is even more philosophical in view of the fact that it was preceded by the Lenten Season which itself is a holy period for we Christians.

“It is then succinct that the Nigerian Government also takes lessons and relates them to dealings with its citizens especially with the first $800 million fuel subsidy removal palliative.

“I consider it disingenuous on the part of the Federal Government to say Nigeria has a Social Register for 10 million vulnerable households, which they translated to be 50 million Nigerians.

“Just as I am finding it difficult wrapping my brain around it, so also are the majority of Nigerians bemused. Nigerians, particularly its government, should ensure that the workability of the $800 million from the World Bank is adhered to and reflected with transparency and honesty.

“As Nigerians are sacrificing their fuel subsidy benefits, it should be for a general improvement in the educational and health sectors not some phantom list of names compilations which is already fraught with deceit.”

He charged those occupying public offices to be more open, relate well with fellow countrymen because they hold such responsibilities in trust, saying, “Let us be our brother’s keepers’.
(Punch)