15 May 2016, Abuja –- To cushion the harsh effect of the new pump price of Premium Motor Spirt, PMS also called petrol on the people, the presidency is set to implement the N500 billion earmarked in the 2016 budget for social welfare.
A statement by the media spokesperson for Vice President Yemi Osinabjo, Mr. Laolu Akande in Abuja on Sunday stated, “Altogether, the federal government would be directly impacting the lives of more than 8 million Nigerians in different social investment 2016 budget spending that would provide succor and be a ready-made palliative to ordinary Nigerians.”
Giving a breakdown of the interventions and palliatives, Akande said that said that there would “the direct payment of N5000 monthly to one million extremely poor Nigerians for 12 months as provided for in the 2016 budget for which N$68.7B has been appropriated.”
Similarly, the government has also made available a “direct provision of very soft loan -cash for market women, men and traders, including artisans and Agric workers. This would be for a total of 1.76m Nigerians, without the requirement for conventional collateral.
Some of the traders will likely get about N60,000. A total sum of N140.3B has already been appropriated for this in the budget”. The details also showed their there would be “payment of between N23,000 to N30,000 per month to 500,000 unemployed graduates who would be trained, paid and deployed to work as volunteer teachers, public health officers and extension service workers among other responsibilities. They would also be given electronic devices to empower them technologically both for their assignments and beyond”.
According to the media aide, “100,000 artisans would also be trained and paid N191.5B has been set aside for this in the passed budget.” He also said that “At least 5.5 million Nigerian primary school children -ie starting first in 18 states-three per geopolitical zones would be fed for 200 school days under the free Homegrown School Feeding Programme”, as “N93.1B has been appropriated for this in the 2016 budget.”
In this same vein “100,000 tertiary students in Science Technology Engineering & Maths-STEM, plus Education will partake in the N5.8B already provided for this education grant in the budget. Akande stated that “This payment would also be paid directly to the students.”
He stated that these measures that would start in a matter of weeks would certainly lift the ordinary man from the pangs of economic hardship and poverty. “Long before now, the Presidency has made adequate arrangements in the 2016 budget to ensure that Nigerians are lifted from poverty and hardship,” Akande said, adding that “the Buhari presidency is keen to ensure that Nigerians are lifted and that if necessary on an ongoing basis palliatives measures would always be considered to address the conditions of the people.”
*Levinus Nwabughiogu – Vanguard