Subsidy removal: How far can$800m W’Bank palliative go?
The Nigerian Federal Government has secured $800m from the World Bank to provide palliatives to over 50 million Nigerians ahead of the planned removal of petroleum subsidy in June. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, announced the World Bank facility for the first tranche of palliatives that will enable cash transfers to 10 million households in a national social register. However, there have been mixed reactions to the move as critics argue that the $800m largesse may not serve the real purpose. Organised labour unions, including the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, and northern youths, have opposed the move and demanded local refining of crude before the subsidy is removed. The TUC’s Secretary-General described the $800m facility as another neocolonialism tactic by the World Bank to hold Nigeria hostage, while the NECA faulted the grant, saying that previous palliatives have failed to palliate the economic woes of the citizens.