Subsidy removal: Sanwo-Olu flags off food palliatives, targets 500,000 vulnerable households

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Lagos, Sept. 3, 2023 (NAN) The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday flagged off the distribution of food items for 500,000 vulnerable households in the state to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.

Speaking during the exercise at the Lagos State House, Alausa, Ikeja, the governor said that the strategic goal of the programme was to reach vulnerable households in the state with staple food items, using two methodologies.

He said that under the category one, groups would receive bulk food items including 50kg rice, 50kg Garri and 100kg of beans.

He said that category two, individual vulnerable households would receive food boxes which consist of 10kg rice, 5kg garri and 5kg Beans.

“I stand before you all today, deeply aware of the challenges that many Lagosians have been facing with regards to the sharp increases in transportation cost and the prices of essential food items across the state as a direct effect of the policy on the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.

“As a responsive government, we announced a number of measures aimed at ameliorating the effect of the policy on our people, most especially the vulnerable.

“These palliative measures which are already being implemented includes a 50 per cent reduction in transportation cost in the government-owned bus system and free health services for pregnant women in government hospitals among others.

“One of the measures which we announced and being formally flagged off today is the distribution of food items for vulnerable households through the Lagos Food Bank Programme.

“The strategic goal of this programme is to reach 500,000 vulnerable households in the state with staple food items using two methodologies – bulk and individual.

“Bulk food items include (50kg Rice, 50kg Garri and 100kg Beans) for groups, and food boxes (10kg Rice, 5kg Garri, and 5kg Beans) for individual vulnerable households,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that to ensure transparency in the implementation of this intervention, a monitoring committee would be constituted.

According to him, members of the committee would be drawn from religious groups, trade unions, people with disabilities, civil society/non-governmental organisations, youth groups, community development councils and representatives of the Lagos State House of Assembly.

He said that distribution would be done in phases among the various beneficiary groups for ease of the process.

The governor noted that in line with this plan, each group would be duly informed of the date for collection.

“Overall, this initiative will directly impact 500,000 benefitting households, over 2,500 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises involved in bag manufacturing, food aggregation, packaging, and logistics, while over 25,000 employees of the MSMEs will be indirectly impacted.

“I will like to use this opportunity to solicit for the support of well-meaning and public spirited individuals and organisations for this programme so that more of our people in need of this intervention can be reached.

“Be rest assured that adequate measures have been put in place to ensure that all items received get to the intended beneficiaries,” he said.

The governor said that his administration acknowledges the economic challenges experienced at this time.

According to him, the policies being implemented by the federal government are difficult but necessary measures that must be taken to reposition our economy on the path of sustainable development and prosperity for all citizens.

“I am, therefore, appealing for the continued understanding of all Lagosians with the assurance that we will do everything within our capacity to implement measures that will cushion this temporary pain.

“We will continue to initiate programmes and projects that will uplift our people and provide quality living conditions to all.

Some of the beneficiaries commended the governor for the support to reduce the impact of the fuel subsidy removal.

Mrs Josephine Babalola, Vice Chairperson, People Living with Disabilities, Lagos State Chapter, thanked the governor for his continuous support to the physically challenged in the state.

Alhaji Anifat-Amosa Babaniji, an Islamic cleric, lauded the government, urging it to do more in alleviating the economy hardship in the state.

“I am very happy about it because it will go a long way for the less privileged people.

“The impact of fuel subsidy is being felt by everyone in general. So, this is a welcome development.

“When this palliatives goe round, people will be relieved a little bit from the policy,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives of 18 groups received their food palliatives.

They include Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), religious groups and physically challenged group. (NAN)

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