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Abuja Swaps Fuel Subsidies for a Grant

Nigeria is planning to give cash handouts to the poor, that may cost the government $5.8 billion in a bid to replace fuel subsides. The government will give 5,000 naira each to as many as 40 million people every month, beginning from July when fuel subsidies end. A new petroleum law compels the government to allow market forces determine gasoline prices. The cash transfers will happen over a period of six to 12 months, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed, said Thursday. Cutting fuel support will support the ruling party’s long-term policy goals of freeing up revenue while allowing the party to bolster support among poor Nigerians ahead of the 2023 polls, Eurasia Group said in a note to clients Thursday. “The category of voters who are most likely to benefit from the transport grant are more likely to vote for Buhari’s party, and they also benefit the least from the current gasoline subsidies” Eurasia Group said. Cash support programs have helped the poor from Togo to India but in a nation where few have bank accounts, the process may lead to corruption, said Cheta Nwanze, a lead partner with SBM Intelligence.