The politics of palliatives – Businessday

Tee Rasheed
4 Min Read

Mike Umogun
October 11, 2023
“If you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to catch a fish you do him a good turn forever.” (Chinese proverb.)
This Chinese proverb describes the present situation in Nigeria perfectly. The government is focused on the sharing of palliative while concrete steps concerning youth empowerment is down played. For instance, recent unemployment data indicating that a third of employable youth are out of job should be a major worry for government.
Writing in the Punch of 11 September 2023, Sharriffadeen Tella says Transparency and accountability are key in governance and nobody can deny this basic fact. He criticised the palliative programme of the federal government for lacking openness. Through this programme government is going to make its supporter billionaires overnight and we shall be back to these pages crying foul.

Read also: Ondo begins distribution of palliatives
Instead of these spurious palliative (gift) items, analysts have called for a new “Trader Moni” initiative to gradually empower the youths and entrepreneurs in our society. The Trader Moni is an empowerment scheme designed to uplift the underprivileged, under-served, and marginalised youths in Nigeria from poverty.

Tella says he is convinced that we are marching into another cesspool of corruption that would mess up the reputation of many stakeholders hence institutional entity should handle the distribution instead of present arrangement where officials of the Local Government and Community Development Associations are the one managing the distribution.
Some public policy analysts have argued that the Federal Government should publish the items sent to each state while each state should publish what it received and how they were distributed. This becomes imperative in view of the fact that most citizens were not aware that the states have already been given N2bn by the Federal Government until a press conference was held after the meeting with the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, where the N5bn transfer to the states was announced. They collected N2bn and kept mute, giving the impression that they wanted to use the money, meant for the provision of facilities and inclusive projects, to solve personal problems.
The present team in office has hinted on the campaign trail that they would remove subsidy. One wonders if they were thinking of the appropriate strategies to deal with the fall out from the removal of petroleum subsidy.
“Emo lokan” is asking for the burden of governance , facing it and dealing with any fall out squarely in a timely and objectives manner.

Supporters of the administration of President Ahmed Tinubu have argued that he would be more focused once the case at the Supreme Court is settled

Before then ordinary Nigerians would keep “suffering and smiling”
The fiasco around palliative is opening a new flood gate of corruption across the country . But the situation is not all glum and doom. Tella says we can use the distribution to get or update statistics about the poor in our society, the publication of records of activities, actions and citizens concerned goes a long way to build trust in leadership. The state governments should provide programmes of activities and publicize these while reports are sent to the appropriate federal ministries, departments and agencies. This will assist in reviewing the process, procedures and outcomes today and for future reference. It is when there is no transparency and accountability that we keep secret, activities that are carried out for the public interest.
Read also: Fuel subsidy removal: Palliatives to go through DSIEC structure Delta Government
Is Palliatives Assistance?:
Palliative isn’t assistance, Palliative is an invite to corruption.The government must take concrete action to build and strengthen the economy.

Put in place youth empowerment policies and walk away from the regime of continuous borrowing to finance development project.
Let’s look inward to develop our country.
Michael Umogun is a Chartered Marketer with interest in public policy

Business Day, established in 2001, is a daily business newspaper based in Lagos. It is the only Nigerian newspaper with a bureau in Accra, Ghana. It has both daily and Sunday titles. It circulates in Nigeria and Ghana
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