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Palliative: NEMA to begin rice distribution to states

The National Emergency Management Agency, on Sunday, said it had commenced arrangements for the distribution of 180 trucks of rice to various states as recommended by the National Economic Council.

On Thursday the Federal Government announced a N5bn palliative for each state of the federation and 180 trucks of rice as part of measures to assuage the pains of the subsidy removal.

The subsidy removal policy, which led to sharp and multiple increases in fuel pump prices, has driven up the prices of goods and services, pushing millions of Nigerians into poverty and worsening the socio-economic situation in the country.

But announcing the release of the palliative at the end of the 135th National Economic Council meeting presided over by Vice President Kashim Shettima in Abuja, the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, disclosed that the N5bn was to enable the state governments to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizers to cushion the effect of food shortage across the country.

He had added that considering the urgency in meeting the need to mitigate the skyrocketing food prices across the country, the Federal Government had previous week released five trucks of rice to each state of the federation.

When contacted on Sunday and asked whether the lifting of the trucks of rice to states had yet to start, the spokesperson for NEMA, Ezekiel Manzo replied, “I’m not saying that lifting has not started.

“What I’m saying is that the directive was given on Thursday and arrangements are being made appropriately to carry out the directive.

“And you know that these arrangements would also mean that NEMA will be communicated formerly. But for us in NEMA we are prepared to carryout the directive. That’s what I mean.”

Manzo explained that the council had given NEMA the responsibility to move the commodities, adding that agency would also distribute relief items to some states.

He said, “What was said after the National Economic Council is that NEMA is going to move the items to the states, and NEMA is also expected to distribute relief materials to communities in the states bordering Nigeria and Niger Republic.

“But you must also know that in every meeting, minutes are prepared and directives are communicated. So that is the stage that we are right now.”

Recall the NEC had on Thursday outlined how the rice would be shared and other modalities associated with the programme.

“NEC met today and expressed serious concerns as regards increasing cost of food items, increasing cost of transportation amongst others as a result of subsidy removal. In order to cushion the effect of subsidy removal, the federal government released five trucks of rice to each state last week.

“Furthermore, in order to cushion the effect of food shortages across the country, the Federal Government has approved the sum of N5bn to be given to each state for the procurement of 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize, and fertilizers.

“This funding has to be shared with a formula as follows: 52 percent of this money is given to states as grants, while 48 per cent of the N5bn is to be paid back on an installment basis within a period of 20 months to the CBN by the states and the local government areas in Nigeria,” Shettima had stated.

SOURCE: LEADERSHIP

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