N8,000 Too Small To Mitigate Pains Of Subsidy Removal- Informal Sector Workers

According to Gbenga Komolafe, the General Secretary of FIWON, the elimination of fuel....
By Daniel Beke

The Federation of Informal Sector Workers (FIWON), representing workers in the informal sector, has voiced their worries regarding the recent announcement made by President Bola Tinubu. They express dissatisfaction with the amount of N8,000 allocated for 12 million households, stating that it is insufficient.

According to Gbenga Komolafe, the General Secretary of FIWON, the elimination of fuel subsidies has led to the demise of numerous micro and small businesses, resulting in significant job losses for workers in the sector.

It stated: “The combined effect of the subsequent removal of subsidies on premium motor spirit which spiked the pump price per liter by as much as 300 per cent in some parts of the country as well as the devaluation of the naira announced by the President are already being felt in the astronomical rise in the cost of the most basic essentials, especially food and transportation.

“As reported in the media, the grant will enable the transfer of the sum of N8,000 monthly to 12 million poor and low-income households for a period of six months, with a multiplier effect on about 60 million individuals. The grants will be disbursed through the much abused Conditional Cash Transfer window.

“The first issue with this is that the amount of money to be disbursed to beneficiaries is truly so paltry. N8000 naira or about USD10 per month in today’s exchange rate really cannot feed a child of five years in 30 days, let alone supporting all vulnerable Nigerians to meet the cost of basic needs, as announced under the programme.

“We would also question how they arrived at the figure of 12 million poor and low income households’ in a country with over 130 million people suffering from ‘multi dimensional poverty’ according to official statistics. Who are these 12 million Nigerians, how were they identified?

“It is critical to raise this because similar programmes in the past suffered so much, as relatively privileged Nigerians had their accounts credited with N10,000 ‘MarketMoni” while most market women and the poor only heard about the programme on the radio.

Between 2017 and 2019, several programmes similar to the recently announced National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) were implemented as part of the Federal Government’s ambitious financial intermediation initiatives. These programmes received significant investments amounting to billions of dollars. The NSIP itself is regarded as the most ambitious financial intermediation programme in recent decades.

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