Subsidy Palliative: Why Can’t FG Pay Nigerians Directly Into Their Accounts?

The current state of affairs in our country often leaves me contemplating the archaic systems we continue to uphold. Despite the vast potential that technology offers in streamlining processes and improving lives, it appears that we remain entrenched in analog practices that fail to harness the advancements at our disposal.

Recently, my attention was drawn to an online article revealing that the Federal Government had allocated a staggering sum of N5 billion to each state for subsidy palliative measures. This announcement left me bewildered and questioning the rationale behind such an approach. With Nigeria’s population estimated at around 220 million, it’s perplexing to fathom why the government would disperse this substantial amount to states rather than directly supporting citizens.

In light of available statistics, it seems plausible that a more effective strategy would involve providing direct financial assistance to individuals. Why not initiate a scheme wherein the Federal Government deposits funds directly into the accounts of Nigerian citizens, thereby aiding them during these trying times? The previously allocated N500 billion, intended for subsidy removal palliatives, could serve as a means to alleviate poverty and bolster those engaged in entrepreneurial pursuits or other forms of livelihood.

One cannot help but question the wisdom behind funneling funds through states, a process that history has shown often results in limited reach to the actual populace. This concern is not unfounded, considering the manner in which even the basic Covid-19 palliatives were concealed by states and even traditional leaders. While the masses were grappling with hunger, these vital resources remained hidden, further deepening the disillusionment felt by the people.

Instead of perpetuating this seemingly flawed approach, I am left wondering why the Nigerian government continues to cling to outdated administrative practices. The potential benefits of leveraging technology for direct payments are manifold. For instance, utilizing the Bank Verification Number (BVN) system could facilitate seamless and secure transactions. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could orchestrate these payments directly into the accounts of every Nigerian, ensuring that the aid reaches those who truly need it.

Furthermore, this approach could serve as an opportunity to foster financial inclusion. Citizens who lack accounts could be motivated to open one in order to receive their BVNs and subsequently benefit from the direct payments. Such an initiative could have far-reaching implications, empowering individuals to access modern financial services and contributing to the overall economic development of the country.

The apprehension that these proposed palliatives might be misappropriated or diverted for political gain is a valid concern. The unfortunate reality is that such instances have occurred before, with resources meant for the populace ending up in the hands of a select few. In some cases, these resources have even been exploited for election campaigns, perpetuating a cycle of opportunistic politics that fails to serve the genuine needs of the people.

As we observe this conundrum unfolding, the pressing question remains: Why does Nigeria persist in adhering to these antiquated practices? It’s a query that embodies a yearning for progress and a desire to see the country thrive in the face of modern challenges. The prospect of transcending the mundane and embracing transformative change beckons. The opportunity to break free from the constraints of outdated methods and embrace a future driven by innovation and inclusivity is within reach. The choice, ultimately, rests with those who hold the power to effect meaningful change.