President Bola Tinubu Unveils Relief Measures to Soothe the Sting of Fuel Subsidy Removal
President Bola Tinubu has taken steps to address the challenges faced by Nigerians following the removal of fuel subsidies. In a directive to the National Economic Council (NEC), he called for input on palliatives and a review of the minimum wage to alleviate the impact of the subsidy removal. The Trade Union Congress (TUC) also expects the government to respond to its demand for a minimum wage of N200,000 by June 19. During a meeting with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Tinubu urged collaboration between federal and state governments to combat poverty and provide relief to the most vulnerable citizens.President Tinubu emphasized the urgent need to tackle poverty, describing the current level of impoverishment in Nigeria as unacceptable. He called on political leaders to set aside their differences and focus on addressing the sufferings of the people. Tinubu stressed the importance of investing in education as a means to combat poverty and expressed his willingness to work together with the governors. The meeting, attended by all members of the Governors’ Forum except those from several states, focused on palliatives and an upward review of the minimum wage.Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, speaking on behalf of the governors after the meeting, revealed that discussions centered around enhancing the minimum wage and implementing measures that would benefit the common man and Nigerians as a whole. However, he acknowledged that any temporary measures would be insufficient in the long run, emphasizing the need for an energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources. The government aims to adopt sustainable practices observed in other countries, such as converting mass transit vehicles to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or electric power.The TUC has set a deadline for the government to present a proposal for the proposed minimum wage increase of N200,000. The union sees this demand as part of its response to the fuel subsidy removal and expects the government to meet the deadline. Additionally, the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria has pledged support by providing 100 CNG/diesel-powered buses to aid mobility for vulnerable citizens. The buses, costing N100 million each, will be procured locally and contribute to job creation in the country.In Ogun State, the government has initiated a review process for the minimum wage in light of the subsidy removal. An anonymous official confirmed that the state government is working on a new minimum wage package to mitigate the impact of the fuel subsidy removal. Similarly, the Kwara State Government has expressed its commitment to prioritizing the welfare of workers, with plans to engage with union leaders to determine an acceptable formula for palliative measures.The recent developments indicate a concerted effort by the government and stakeholders to address the challenges faced by Nigerians following the removal of fuel subsidies. Measures such as palliatives, a minimum wage review, and an energy transition are being discussed and implemented to alleviate the burden on the most vulnerable citizens and pave the way for a sustainable future.