Despite the confirmation of a partial disbursement of Nigeria’s $800 million fuel subsidy removal palliatives loan by the World Bank, the Nigerian government under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has not yet initiated the payment of N75,000 to vulnerable citizens.
According to a World Bank document, $299.99 million, equivalent to 37.5% of the loan, has been disbursed to the Federal Government under the National Social Safety Net Program-Scale Up. However, $442.88 million still remains to be disbursed.
To mitigate the economic impact of fuel subsidy removal, the government introduced an $800 million Social Safety Net Programme, which includes a conditional cash transfer facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs & Poverty Alleviation.
This loan aims to provide monthly cash transfers to poor and vulnerable Nigerians affected by recent policies, such as the fuel subsidy removal. President Bola Tinubu launched the conditional cash transfer scheme in October 2023, targeting 15 million households nationwide to receive N75,000 within a three-month period from October to December 2023, amounting to a total of N1.13 trillion.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, stated that approximately 61 million Nigerians, constituting 15 million households, would benefit from the scheme each month during the specified period.
However, the implementation of the program has not commenced, despite the challenges faced by Nigerians, including high inflation, which stood at 27.33% in October.
The World Bank’s Country Representative, Shubham Chaudhuri, justified the cash transfers, emphasizing their effectiveness in reducing poverty and assisting individuals in making informed decisions during the critical initial period.
Nevertheless, the delay in the payment of N75,000 palliatives persists, leaving Nigerians grappling with the impact of inflation and economic challenges.