President Bola Tinubu has said that part of the palliatives to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal on the Nigerian masses would be a distribution of cash through banks to small scale farmers and large private players in the agricultural sector.
Tinubu, in a live broadcast on Monday evening, made this announcement, that the banks, unlike in the previous regime, would be in charge of verifying the eligibility of beneficiaries before distribution.
He said, “Our plan to support cultivation of 500,000 hectares of farmland and all-year-round farming practice remains on course. To be specific, N200 billion out of the N500 billion approved by the National Assembly will be disbursed as follows:
“Our administration will invest N50 billion each to cultivate 150,000 hectares of rice and maize.
“N50 billion each will also be earmarked to cultivate 100,000 hectares of wheat and cassava.
“This expansive agricultural programme will be implemented targeting small-holder farmers and leveraging large-scale private sector players in the agric business with strong performance record.
“In this regard, the expertise of Development Finance Institutions, commercial banks and microfinance banks will be tapped into to develop a viable and an appropriate transaction structure for all stakeholders.”
Former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq, in 2020 said Nigerians who purchased N100 call airtime and had less than N5000 in their accounts were those the Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s (retd.), administration considered poor and eligible for the stipend.
She claimed approximately 15 million “lives were touched” and benefited from various programmes like TraderMoni, MarketMoni, Farmer Moni, and N-Power scheme even though several reports by the World Bank showed that millions of Nigerians were living in abject poverty because of Buhari’s dangerous poverty-coping mechanisms.
Tinubu, is however, taking a different turn by assigning financial institutions the task of identifying who and who is not qualified to receive the cash.
Although, the Tinubu-led administration had earlier earmarked the sum of N8,000 monthly for six months as part of palliative measures to ease the hardship for 12 million households. This development was immediately faced with heavy criticisms from Nigerians, considering that the sun was too little to cater for basic needs.
The Federal Government had since retracted the plan for review to roll out a new plan.