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Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has said that the over N1 trillion that would be saved from the withdrawal of electricity subsidy will be reinvested in improving power supply and the provision of social services for the country.

Mr Idris stated this in Kaduna on Saturday as a guest of the popular Hausa audience participatory programme of Radio Nigeria Kaduna called “Hannu Da Yawa.”

He said the disproportionate amount of electricity subsidy, approximately 40%, is benefiting only about 15% of the electricity consumer population, comprising affluent individuals and industrial clusters, who enjoy about 20 hours of electricity.

“It is essential to emphasise that the funds to be saved from the withdrawal of electricity subsidy will be reinvested in enhancing power supply across the country and improving other vital social services such as health and education,” he said.

The minister emphasised that 85% of the population, which falls under the different categorisations of the new electricity supply regime, still enjoys the subsidy.

Mr Idris said the new Electricity Act, signed by President Tinubu, has strengthened the governance structure of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and empowers the Commission to place severe sanctions on electricity distribution companies for infractions relating to billings and supply of electricity to consumers.

While speaking on the post-fuel subsidy intervention programmes, Mr Idris said the supply of N100 billion worth of CNG buses is still on track as the specification of the buses is not bought off the shelf.

The minister said the government would soon launch CNG conversion centres across the country to encourage Nigerians to convert their vehicles from fuel consumption to CNG to reduce the cost of transportation.

Mr Idris also stated that the Committee set up by the President to review the operational mechanism of the National Social Investment Programme has submitted its report to pave the way for the resumption of the programmes, which will be providing N25,000 Conditional Cash Transfers to 15 million poor and vulnerable households for three months among other interventions.

The minister used the platform to dispel the notion in some quarters that the Tinubu Administration is out to shortchange the northern part of the country, stressing that the Federal Government would continue to invest funds in developing projects in the north.

On agriculture, the minister said the Federal Government has expanded the cultivation of wheat, rice, cassava, and maize under the Dry Season Farming Initiative on about 500,000 hectares of farmland.

“The President has mandated us to go out and feel the nation’s pulseion and report back to him. We were in Dutse, Auyo, and Hadejia and interacted with the farmers about the successes of the dry season farming in those areas,” he said.

Mr Idris expressed delight that Kebbi State is now a hub of tomato farming and processing in the country through collaboration with a leading food processing firm, GB Foods, which has set up a sprawling factory produce of tomato paste.

He said plenty of farmers, mostly women, are now involved in tomato farming in Kebbi State because of the enabling environment and support from the off-taker, GB Foods, which has shown a remarkable commitment to doing business in Nigeria.

Rabiu Ibrahim
Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Information and National Orientation
April 13, 2024

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