Abuja—Comprehensive palliatives promised by President Bola Tinubu to cushion the effects of the removal of petrol subsidy may take a while to come, going by the slow pace of work of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) the President has raised for the assignment, the Vanguard reports.
The committee had been constituted on June 19 with a time frame of eight weeks to deliver on its mandate.
The implication is that by August 18, the committee’s report should be delivered to the government to enable it work on the comprehensive package of palliatives for Nigerians.
The panel is chaired by Governor Nasir Idris of Kebbi State with members such as Governors Bala Mohammed of Bauchi, Charles Soludo of Anambra, Uba Sani of Kaduna and Hyacindu Alia of Benue, as well representatives of the Organised Labour and Civil Society Organisations.
But a member of the committee says more than one month after, they were not going at the anticipated speed, saying the deadline for the assignment may not be met unless the government fast-tracked the process.
“So far, we have stayed more than one month and we feel that we are not going at the speed we anticipated”, Trade Union Congress (TUC) President, Mr Festus Osifoh, who is representing TUC on the committee, said after its meeting in Abuja.
“We want government to fast-track the action to ensure that between now and the next two weeks; all the committees must have submitted their reports so that the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) can conclude its work immediately because we cannot continue to blow grammar while Nigerians are suffering and trekking long distances to work”.
Osifo noted that the Federal Government gave a two-month ultimatum for discussions to be concluded on both sides.
His words: “As of today (last Thursday), we have formed technical committees on cash transfers, intervention funds, reduction of cost of governance, fixing energy and power, developing CNG as an alternative to PMS and fixing of refineries.
“We also have technical committees on education and health as well as mass transit.
“Government gave a timeline of eight weeks, beginning from June 19. Going by that calculation, eight weeks is going to end by August 19.
“We are ready to work because the plight of Nigerian workers is a great concern to us. “Anything that would affect Nigerian workers is what we fight to correct.
“Beyond the workers, it is also about the well-being of the masses because we have a lot of Nigerians that are today unemployed.
“What we are canvassing across these technical committees is to ensure that whatever is put in place should be aimed at alternative and cheaper energy like the CNG.
“There should also be a consideration for palliatives that would better the lives of the people and the issue of reduction of cost governance.”
Earlier, the committee Chairman had assured that Nigerians would have a cause to smile soon as the body was doing its best to bring succour and ease current difficulties.
“The committee sat and deliberated on possible ways to cushion the effects of subsidy removal and very soon Nigerians will start reaping the benefits of this”, the Kebbi governor had said.
“We are determined to come up with a good and suitable outcome that will benefit Nigerians, therefore, be rest assured that the committee is up to the task.
“All we need is patience, support and cooperation from all Nigerians to enable us to achieve the set goals and objectives of establishing the committee by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”