The Imo Government on Wednesday commenced the distribution of 65,000 bags of rice to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal on the people.
In a speech at the launch of the exercise in Owerri, Gov. Hope Uzodimma said the fuel subsidy removal was “one of the most quotient policies of the Federal Government to save the economy from collapse”.
Uzodimma said the Federal Government’s introduction of physical support to state governments was aimed at tackling the challenges of high costs of living and poverty caused by the policy.
He said that one of the support measures was the Federal Government’s N7 billion donation to every state of the federation.
“I can confirm that Imo has received its own.
“The Federal Government also worked out a programme to distribute food products to the citizenry through the State Governments and promised to purchase N4 billion worth of rice at N40,000 per bag.
“Of the N4 billion, N2 billion has been released, while the remaining N2 billion will be sent soon,” he said.
Uzodimma further disclosed that the Federal Government would also deliver maize worth N1 billion to every state.
He said the state government procured the rice from local markets as a way to encourage the value chain.
He said the distribution of the 65,000 bags of rice was the first phase of the Federal Government’s palliatives.
The governor commended President Bola Tinubu for the initiative and described him as “a great thinker and economist who knows how to create wealth and rebuild the economy”.
According to him, Tinubu’s policies will help to recover the economy, reduce the high exchange rate, and create prosperity for the people.
He said that the Federal Government would soon release Compressed Natural Gas and electric buses to states.
Uzodimma said that the State Government had concluded plans to float a new transport company equipped with new vehicles to reduce the cost of transportation.
The governor commended the people of the state for their understanding and patriotism since the removal of the fuel subsidy.
He said a committee, chaired by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief Cosmos Iwu, would ensure that the food items got to the “commonest man in the streets”.
“We have also included security agencies to arrest anyone who may wish to abuse the process of the distribution,” he said.
Uzodimma said that the food items would be distributed among the formal and informal sectors in the state using a designed template.
He said that the rice would be shared with various federal establishments, ethnic groups, security agencies, religious and traditional bodies, tertiary institutions, and registered voters at the polling units, among others.
Uzodimma warned against partisanship in the distribution of the items.
“This has shown that the Federal Government is not insensitive to the sufferings of the people and the hardship occasioned by the policy of fuel subsidy removal.
“There is no point politicising it.
“The president is committed to recovering our economy and bringing Nigeria back to its lost glory.
“So, we need to support him, and we are determined to support him,” he said.
Earlier, the SSG said the governor had approved some measures to help workers in the state cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal.
Iwu recalled that Uzodimma had approved an increase in the minimum wage to N40,000.
He assured the people that no one would be shortchanged in the distribution process.
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