Thursday, December 7, 2023


Transport cut, salary increase, fertilisers — what states are offering as subsidy removal palliatives

Transport cut, salary increase, fertilisers — what states are offering as subsidy removal palliatives
August 21
14:32 2023

When President Bola Tinubu, while delivering his inaugural speech, said subsidy is gone, things took a drastic change in the lives of Nigerians, and even those of neighbouring West African countries.

Consequent to the announcement, the price of petrol skyrocketed, with a spill-off effect on other goods and services including food, transportation, housing and education.

The consumer price index (CPI), which measures the rate of change in prices of goods and services, rose to 24.08 in July 2023 — the country’s highest inflation figure in more than 10 years.

The federal government has since announced short-term palliative plans to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal on citizens and businesses. Among these are the upward review of the minimum wage, grants for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the release of 200,000 metric tonnes of grains and more.


The organised labour, comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress, has been negotiating with the government on agreeable efforts and timeframe for palliative pushouts, with threats to embark on nationwide protests, should its demands be ignored.

On Thursday, the federal government announced a N5 billion relief package for each state, including the federal capital territory (FCT).

In addition to the palliative plans announced by the federal government, a number of state governments have also announced measures to ease the burden on their respective residents.


From salary increases to transportation cost slashes, below is a highlight of what some states are offering as palliative.


Wale Akinterinwa, the commissioner for finance, Ondo state

Akinterinwa, the commissioner for finance and chairman of the palliative strategy and implementation committee

On August 3, the Ondo state government said it would implement an unconditional cash transfer of N10,000 to 1,000 vulnerable persons per local government in its 18 LGAs — totalling 18,000 people.

Wale Akinterinwa, the commissioner for finance and chairman of the palliative strategy and implementation committee, said all the state and local government pensioners would also receive N10,000 each from August to December.


Akinterinwa added that other palliatives include agrochemicals, seeds, drip lines, farm tools and power tillers at subsidised rates for farmers.

He also announced plans to provide free shuttle buses for students at the resumption of a new academic session in September, while free shuttle boats — equipped with life jackets — will be made available for students in the riverine area.

The commissioner said the transportation will be free till the end of the year while it will begin charging “affordable rates” starting from January 2024.




In a statewide broadcast earlier in the month, Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo state, unveiled the sustainable actions for economic recovery ‘(SAfER)’ package as part of palliative measures to cushion the impact of the petrol subsidy removal and the rising cost of living on the residents of the state.

Some of the plans include an increase in the number of government buses on various routes in Ibadan, the capital city, in addition to reduced fares.


The governor also said that the state’s social register has been updated to include 200,000 of the “poorest of the poor” who would be provided with immediate food relief packages.

He added that the state government will pay the one-year health insurance premium of 100,000 “most vulnerable households” under the Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA).




Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, governor of Kwara, recently directed the payment of N10,000 each to indigenous students in public tertiary institutions in the state in addition to “our previous multisectoral interventions”.

Also approved was a stipend of N10,000 each for some categories of security agents “defined as the first line of defence in our state”.

Before that, Abdulrazaq had approved N10,000 monthly cash support for all Kwara public workers effective from July, till a new minimum wage is introduced.

In June, the state government announced a three-day workweek adjustment to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal and the high transportation rate, but the directive was later suspended due to “an advisory from the national economic council (NEC)”.


Oyebode, commissioner for finance and chairman of the committee on palliative measures

The Ekiti state government, on Wednesday, said it has made provisions for a monthly payment of N5,000 conditional cash transfer to 10,000 households from August till December “with emphasis on our aged people”.

Akin Oyebode, the commissioner for finance and chairman of the committee on palliative measures, who made the announcement, added that a food distribution programme will commence later in the month.

Other plans by the state government to ameliorate the sufferings of its residents include payment of a one-year leave bonus and one-month pension arrears for state and local government workers and pensioners respectively, implementation of 90 per cent CONHESS and 100 per cent hazard allowance for health workers at the LGAs.

Also listed are the implementation of salary parity for clinical staff of the hospital’s management board, implementation of financial benefits of 2020 and 2021 promotions for state and LG workers, immediate payment of one-month subvention arrears to tertiary institutions, provision of free shuttle buses for workers and students, and inclusion of 10,000 persons in the Ulera Wa health insurance programme.

Oyebode also announced the distribution of inputs to farmers as well as financial support to small businesses and the informal sector.


Sanwo-Olu addressing Lagosians

In the centre of excellence, residents are set to enjoy a 50 per cent reduction in the fares charged by all state-owned transport services, and a 50 per cent fare reduction on all LagFerry routes.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos governor, announced on July 31 that the government had also reached an agreement with transporters in the informal sector, particularly the yellow buses, to reduce their fares by 25 per cent.

In the health sector, the governor directed the general hospitals to offer ante-natal and birth services — both normal and C-section — for free.

He also announced an expansion of the fleet of staff buses for public service employees and “direct food relief to the vulnerable”.


Godwin Obaseki, the governor, said the state is working on deepening EdoBEST@Home initiative to create more virtual classes in order to reduce the cost of commuting by parents, teachers and pupils to schools.

On the rising cost of energy, Obaseki said the state will work with electricity companies to improve power supply to homes and businesses while assuring workers that the government will continue to pay N40,000 as minimum wage and hopes to increase the amount.


Abiodun, governor of Ogun inspects buses for the state to cushion effect of fuel subsidy

To make life easy for residents, the Ogun government announced the payment of N10,000 cash palliative to all civil servants in the state.

Pensioners are also included in the plan which takes effect from July to September.

Dapo Abiodun, the governor, also approved the payment of hazard allowance for all health and medical personnel in the state as well as a peculiar allowance for civil servants.

Other palliative measures rolled out by the governor include the commencement of food distribution to the vulnerable (rice, garri, beans, maize etc); and the distribution of fertilisers and other farm inputs to farmers at subsidised and controlled prices.

Others are payment of March and April 2023 leave bonuses for public servants and the immediate release of letters of promotion in respect of 2021 and 2022.



Healthcare took centre stage in Osun as the state government, on Tuesday, said it would commence free medical care and surgical palliative for the residents.

Jola Akintola, the state’s commissioner for health, said the medical care programme tagged “Imole free medical care” is the second phase and would be flagged off on August 16 at the Ilesa general hospital.

The commissioner said the first phase of the programme, which was carried out between February and March, catered for 22,000 people.


Hope Uzodinma, Imo state governor


Hope Uzodinma, governor of Imo, on July 15, approved the increase of minimum wage of workers in the state to N40,000 to cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy.

The governor also promised an increase in the fleet of buses carrying workers to and from work, and that plans are in place to “recalibrate the tax system” so that “those who earn below N100,000 annually are likely going to be yanked off the state’s tax net”.

Uzodinma added that his administration will give out soft loans, grants, and provide seedlings and farm tools to qualified farmers in the state.


On its part, the Ebonyi state government, on July 14, approved a salary increase of N10,000 for the state workers as a palliative to cushion the effect of the removal of the petrol subsidy.

Jude Okpor, the state commissioner for information and orientation, added that Francis Nwifuru, the governor, also directed the employment of 1,454 people into the state civil service to fill up vacancies.

Nwifuru also mandated Grace Umezuruike, secretary to the state government, to look into the finances of the Ebonyi State University (EBSU) to help determine the upwards review of subvention to the institution.


In July, the Rivers state government launched a fleet of 17 luxurious buses to reduce the transportation burden on residents.

At the launch, Jacobson Nbina, the state commissioner for transport, said the buses are not restricted to civil servants alone.


Douye Diri, governor of Bayelsa, in July, unveiled a new transport scheme, inaugurating 100 cabs and six luxury buses.

The governor said the initiative was his administration’s palliative measure to boost the transport sector in the state.


In July, the Yobe state government kicked off its palliative programme with 500 People with Disabilities (PWD) to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal.

Mohammed Goje, executive secretary, Yobe Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), who flagged off the programme, said that each beneficiary would go home with 10kg of rice, 12.5kg of beans, maize 10kg, spaghetti, salt and seasoning.

In August, the government further announced the second phase of its palliative measures with the distribution of food items and other palliatives to “400,000 individuals in 80,000 households across the 17 LGAs of the state”.


Ahmadu Fintiri, governor of Adamawa, approved N10,000 monthly payment as a palliative for civil servants and pensioners for six months to cushion the effects of the petrol subsidy removal.

In addition, the governor also approved the full implementation of the national minimum wage for local government workers effective from August.

He also approved the procurement of 70 trucks of maize and 20 trucks of rice for distribution to the people at a subsidised rate, with a promise to purchase 50 trucks of fertiliser for state civil servants at a subsidised rate.

Fintiri said plans had been concluded to purchase shuttle buses to convey workers to and fro the state secretariat and for inter-local government transport.


In north-east Borno, Babagana Zulum, the state governor, flagged off a fresh phase of palliatives targeting about 300,000 households.

Under the initiative announced on August 1, each eligible beneficiary will receive N5,000 cash, a bag of rice, a bag of beans and one wrapper (for women).

Earlier in July, the governor released 50 buses and 30 pick-up vans to convey farmers to their farmlands for free.  


The Cross River government, on August 16, announced the distribution of food and non-food items to vulnerable households in its southern senatorial district.

The relief materials include rice, noodles, salt, groundnut oil, tomatoes, hoes, cutlasses and mattresses.


In July, the Jigawa government said it approved N50 million to empower 1,000 women traders to lessen the effect of the petrol subsidy removal on their businesses.

Sagir Musa, commissioner for information, youths, sports and culture, also announced in August that the state government has approved N134 million for the purchase of five trucks of rice for distribution to the less privileged.

The commissioner added that 1,500 young entrepreneurs will receive N50,000 each to enhance their businesses.


Agbu Kefas, governor of Taraba, on July 9, assured residents that the state government will “promptly implement the federal government approved minimum wage in October”.

The governor also announced that transportation will be subsidised to enable farmers to move their products from the farms to the markets and that farmers will be able to access free seedlings and fertilizers to enhance better yields.

According to Kefas, the initiative is to deal with the crisis of food shortage.

He also said 10,000 youths will be engaged as part of the task force to clean up the state and they would be paid N15,000 each month.


The Zamfara state government, on August 3, approved the immediate distribution of foodstuff across the 14 LGAs as palliatives to the removal of fuel subsidy.

Sulaiman Bala Idris, media aide to Dauda Lawal, the state governor, said the first phase of the palliative rollout will commence with rice, maize and other food items.

As of the time of filing this report, there are no verifiable reports of 17 states — Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Enugu, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau, Sokoto — making any formal announcement of palliative measures to ease the burden of subsidy removal on their people.

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