The Senate’s approval of President Bola Tinubu’s request for an $800 million loan from the World Bank has sparked uproar. Tinubu clarified in a letter read by Senate President Godswill Akpabio that the loan would be utilized to expand the national social safety net program. The loan is connected to the Federal Government’s plan to transfer N8,000 monthly to 12 million poor and low-income households for six months, with the money being directly transferred to beneficiaries’ accounts.
The approval came after a closed session during the Senate’s plenary, where the request received accelerated passage. However, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) criticized the plans, stating that they contradict the works of the Presidential Technical Committee on subsidy removal. They argued that any palliative payments must align with the agreements reached with labor during the technical committee meetings.
Various stakeholders expressed their concerns and suggestions regarding the palliative plans. Some criticized the amount of N8,000 per month as insufficient and an insult to Nigerians, highlighting the high inflation rate and socio-economic challenges. Others questioned the criteria for identifying beneficiaries and expressed doubts about the transparency of the process. Suggestions were made for alternative strategies, such as tax concessions and import duty reductions to address the rising costs of food, energy, and transportation.
Critics also emphasized the need for inclusive and sustainable frameworks and raised concerns about the efficacy and impact of the proposed palliatives. Some argued that the government should focus on job creation and provide an enabling environment for Nigerians to earn a living, rather than relying solely on monetary palliatives.
Overall, the approval of the loan and the proposed palliative plans have generated significant debate and criticism from labor unions, experts, and stakeholders who question their effectiveness and suitability in addressing the challenges faced by the Nigerian population.