09 Dec

Daily Watch – FG wants half a trillion for social welfare, Nigeria blows 7 trillion on subsidy

  • President Buhari has proposed to spend N500bn on social services to cater for the needs of youths and other “vulnerable” groups in 2016. In separate letters to the Senate President and the House Speaker, Buhari explained that the social welfare programme would be executed in phases, but did not say whether the request was meant to implement his campaign promise to pay each unemployed person in the country N5,000 monthly. The letter added that that the scheme would also take care of the school feeding programme initiative as well as the “conditional cash transfer to the most vulnerable and a post-NYSC grant.” Buhari explained that the intervention would start next year as a pilot scheme, adding that his government would work towards securing the support of donor agencies and development partners in order to minimise potential risks.
  • Nigeria spent about $35 billion (N6.9 trillion) in the last five years to subsidise petroleum products, the World Bank has said. In its ‘Nigeria Economic Report No. 3’, the bank said the fuel subsidy incapacitated the country’s ability to save for the rainy day occasioned by falling crude oil prices in the international market. On gas, the report said that despite serious disruptions in supply in the first half of the year, Nigeria flared more gas than was used in generating electricity, adding that much more gas was sold to foreign consumers despite the huge demand and inadequate supply at home.
  • Protests by members of MASSOB and IPOB over the continued detention of Radio Biafra’s, Nnamdi Kanu, have been halted, following the resolve of the two pro-Biafra groups to give Federal Government room for dialogue. Protesters in the south-east and parts of south-south geopolitical zones had vowed to continue demonstrations until the former Eastern region successfully seceded from Nigeria. The protests prompted governors from the region to push for a dialogue to secure the release of Kanu among other issues of neglect and marginalization.
  • The Nigerian payment system is efficient and has been encouraging following the introduction of Real Time Gross Settlement system, the Director, Banking and Payments System, CBN, Dipo Fatokun, has said. The RTGS is a specialist fund transfer system in which transfer of money or securities is done from one bank to another on a ‘real time’ and on ‘gross’ basis. Settlement in ‘real time’ means payment transaction is not subjected to any waiting period.