Members of the National Economic Council, made up of governors of the 36 states of the federation, met at the Presidential Villa on Thursday, where they deliberated extensively on the subsidy removal policy and how they can reflate the economy and cushion its impact on Nigerians.
Part of their deliberations, according to Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, were centred on a proposal or recommendation by the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress that the federal government consider N702 billion in bail-out funds, which will come in the form of salary adjustments for fuel allowances.
The meeting noted that workers and the most vulnerable citizens in the society should be the beneficiaries as a way of helping them cushion the effect of the subsidy removal.
At the meeting chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima, governors came to the resolution that a committee be established to look at modalities for its implementation.
Bala told the members of the committee to include the Kebbi State Governor to serve as Chairman, Anambra Governor to represent the South East geopolitical zone. Benue Governor to represent the North Central, Kaduna Governor to represent the Northwest, and Bauchi Governor to represent the Northeast.
Others are the governors of Cross River to represent South South and Oyo State Southwest.
Other intergovernmental agencies listed in the committee include the Budget Office, a representative of the CBN, representative of the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, representative of NNPCL, representatives of TUC and NLC and, of course, Rukayat El-Rufai.
He revealed that NEC mandated the committee to sit within two weeks and work out recommendations for a wholistic decision that will be taken immediately to alleviate the problem that may be encountered by the removal of the subsidy.
Bala’s words, “NEC has taken very far-reaching decisions and deliberations on the issue of the removal of petroleum PMS subsidy and its general impact on the economy.
“Specifically on the issue of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, 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 is going to make on the lives of our workers and all those people involved.
“So, they recommended and they gave us a scenario recommending that there should be a consequential adjustment, estimated at N702,919.8 billion as part of the allowances that should be given as petroleum allowance to all workers and as well as a 23 or 25 billion monthly offer to cushion the effect on workers and others suggestions that will go a long way in making sure that there is review of our salaries and wages.
“In addition to the palliative that Katsina Governor talked about, the government looked at all the issues, the challenges and problems holistically and set up a small committee of council to review and come up with a term of reference to organize areas specifically where this palliative can come and how it will be dispensed to alleviate the problem of workers and other vulnerable groups.”