Intensify awareness on palliatives distributions- CSOs tell Govts

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Enugu

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has urged state and non-state actors to execute public awareness campaigns on palliative distribution mechanisms to ensure inclusive participation of all strata of society.

The CSOs made the call in a communique adopted by 150 organisations from the 36 States and Abuja at the end of a Two-Day Southern Town Hall Meeting in Enugu on Monday.

The meeting with theme entitled: “How Best Citizens Can Benefit From Government Policies on Electricity Pallaitives and Fuel Subsidy Savings” was organised by Partnership for Amplified Voice (PAV) with support from World Bank.

PAV is a platform that brings together CSOs, other non-state actors and government together to discuss national policy issues and recommend workable ways to address national challenges to government.

It is an accountability Civil Society platform facilitated by partnership of two leading CSOs in Nigeria, BudgIT Foundation (BudgIT) and Connected Development (CODE).

The communique noted that palliative distributions by Federal and State Governments was not enough to cushion current hardship Nigerians were passing through.

It also said the palliatives were not sustainable compared to the  hardship on citizens as prices of commodities skyrocketed on a daily basis.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting comprised CSOs from the South-west, South-East and South-South adding that similar meeting was also held in Kano for Northern States in July.

According to the communique, the removal of subsidy resulted in increase in the prices of goods and services especially food products and transportation.

 It said that the development had affected small businesses and households.

It however, advised families to adapt to their budgets given the rising food prices and escalated cost of the public transportation system.

The communique further advised  federal and state governments to invest in mechanised farming to ensure increased food production that guaranteed food security.

“The governments should work together on generating and harmonising data on citizens’ social status (Social Register) to ensure evidence-based policy making and effective social interventions.

“Governments at national and sub national level should adopt commodity exchange policy measures to adequately organise market activities for food products.

“There are many production and manufacturing unions that will reduce the prices of food and other goods if government engaged them to subsidise production.

“The state and non state actors should ensure effective implementation of national and sub national monitoring and evaluation  policies,” it said.

The communique noted that CSOs were excluded by various sub-national governments in the design and implementation of social intervention programmes.

On the claim of subsidy on electricity, the communique said  there was no subsidy on electricity in Nigeria.

It added that  the fund, Payment Assurance Guarantee, for gas supply provided by the government through the Central Bank of Nigeria to distribution companies was designed as loan facilities and not subsidy on electricity.

It advised the distribution companies  to repay the loans given to them by the federal government.

The communique said that the removal of petroleum subsidy had significantly impacted on the demand for and supply of electricity.

The communique regretted the  increase in crime rate, gender-based violence and other security challenges and advised citizens to report crime incidences and gender-based violence to relevant authorities for action.

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