The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has begun the necessary preparations for the distribution of 180 trucks of rice to various states across Nigeria, in line with the recommendations of the National Economic Council (NEC). This move comes after the Federal Government’s recent announcement of a N5 billion palliative package for each state in response to the subsidy removal policy.
The subsidy removal policy, which led to substantial increases in fuel prices and subsequently escalated the cost of goods and services, has adversely impacted the economic situation in the country and pushed many Nigerians into a state of financial hardship.
During the 135th National Economic Council meeting held in Abuja and presided over by Vice President Kashim Shettima, the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, disclosed the allocation of the N5 billion fund to each state. This financial support aims to enable state governments to procure essential food items and fertilizers, including 100,000 bags of rice and 40,000 bags of maize, to counter the effects of food scarcity across the nation.
Governor Zulum further revealed that the Federal Government had already initiated the distribution process by releasing five trucks of rice to each state the previous week. In response to inquiries, NEMA’s spokesperson, Ezekiel Manzo, confirmed that arrangements were underway to carry out the directive for rice distribution. He emphasized that NEMA was fully prepared to fulfill its responsibilities in this regard.
Manzo clarified that NEMA had been entrusted by the NEC to coordinate the transportation and distribution of the commodities. Additionally, he mentioned that NEMA was also tasked with distributing relief items to communities in states bordering Nigeria and Niger Republic. The need for NEMA’s empowerment for flood management was highlighted during the meeting by the Kogi State Governor.
The distribution of rice and other relief materials is in response to the growing concerns raised by the NEC regarding rising food prices and transportation costs resulting from the subsidy removal. As part of the funding allocation, 52 percent of the N5 billion will be provided to states as grants, while the remaining 48 percent is expected to be repaid to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in installments over a 20-month period.
The National Economic Council’s decision to allocate these resources and coordinate the distribution of essential goods reflects the government’s commitment to mitigating the economic challenges faced by Nigerians due to recent policy changes. As preparations continue, NEMA is poised to contribute to the efficient delivery of these vital resources to communities across the nation.