In a recent statement, Nyesom Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), disclosed that his office is yet to finalize plans for the utilization of the ₦5 billion palliative fund allocated by the Federal Government. The decision comes in the wake of the government’s announcement to provide each state and the FCT with the sum to mitigate the effects of the petrol subsidy removal.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Monday evening following a closed-door meeting with FCT contractors, Wike explained that multiple options are under consideration. He mentioned the possibility of allocating resources for transportation and food support to alleviate the challenges faced by residents. Emphasizing the significance of urban mass transportation in particular, Wike stressed that convenient and accessible commuting is essential for the populace.
“We are yet to decide on what to do with the ₦5 billion palliative. We have not chosen any area yet. Are we going to concentrate on food? We are thinking that the issue of transportation is very important, particularly the urban mass transit,” said Wike.
Elaborating on the rationale behind prioritizing transportation alongside food support, Wike noted, “People would like to have easy transportation to go to where they want to go, and if you give them rice and they eat the rice today, what about transportation tomorrow? So, we have not come up with what actually we are going to use the money for, but I believe food support and transportation is very key.”
It was revealed that the ₦5 billion palliative package was initially not designated for the FCT, but Wike’s intervention led to its inclusion. The fund’s purpose is to mitigate the financial strain caused by the removal of petrol subsidies. While some states have confirmed receiving ₦2 billion from the allocated amount, the FCT is still awaiting disbursement of the remaining ₦3 billion.
Wike expressed confidence that the FCTA would soon receive its portion of the palliative fund, as President Bola Tinubu has approved the allocation for the FCT. As the deliberations continue, the administration remains committed to making informed decisions that will effectively alleviate the impact of the subsidy removal on the residents of the Federal Capital Territory.