By Our Correspondent
Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has approved a multi-billion naira palliative package to cushion the effects of recent removal of fuel subsidy.
The new palliatives rolled out by the governor’s chief press secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, at a news conference in Ilorin, the state capital on Monday, cut across different sectors and demographies of the state.
On top of the palliatives is a cash support of N10,000 for every public sector worker in the state, which will begin this month and last until a new minimum wage is introduced.
Ajakaye said the measure was to enable workers to cope with the economic shocks created by the subsidy removal.
“In deference to the new advisory of the National Economic Council for states to design their own independent responses to the development, the Governor has directed the leadership of the civil service to continue a staggered work schedule – not exceeding three days a week – to reduce transportation expenses for workers,” he said.
He, however, clarified that the staggered work plan will not affect the ‘essential workers’ in the State.
Ajakaye added: “The governor has similarly approved the payment, from this month, July, of new hazard and skipping allowances, and 100% CONMESS for consultants and medical doctors under the government’s payroll.
He also approved a new regime of allowances for nurses working for the state government. The whole essence is to check attrition rate in the health sector, and attract and retain medics and specialists to provide improved, qualitative healthcare services for the people of the state.
“The governor has also endorsed immediate cash-backing of 2019 and 2020 promotion for Teaching Service Commission workers. The administration had earlier cash-backed arrears of promotion for TESCOM for years 2015-2018.
“In the same vein, he has approved cash-backing for 2021 promotion exercise of teaching and non-teaching staff of SUBEB and restoration of steps to all of them. This is a policy response to the yearnings of SUBEB workers since 2016 when SUBEB workers no longer had steps.
“The governor also approved the extension of free bus rides for students of tertiary institutions in the state, while modalities for occasional distribution of food to poor and most vulnerable households are to be activated in the next few days.
“This shall be nonpartisan, and would be coordinated by a government team to be supported by respected stakeholders who would get inputs from traditional rulers, religious bodies, market leaders, trade unionists, and community based organisations to generate the lists of beneficiaries and disburse accordingly.
“The whole idea of these interventions, which gulp billions of naira of public funds, is to show empathy and deploy as much resources as the state can afford to support the people at this special time.
“The Governor has also approved for the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) to activate a N500m worth of conditional support for petty traders and MSMEs in the state.
“The state government will receive fertilisers and grains from the Federal Government and pay for same. It is not free. Modalities for the handling of these will be made available later. This is to boost farming outputs and food security in the state.
“The government, meanwhile, will be setting up a committee to interface with marketers on the need to curb extortionist tendencies as seen in arbitrary fixing of prices of food stuffs. This practice imposes hardship on everyone. The government will be willing to collaborate with the patriotic market leaders on how to tackle this challenge.
“Finally, the governor identifies with the President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for his strong commitments to sustainable economic reforms and well-being of the Nigerian people, believing that the current discomforts are just like the pains that precede the joyful birth of a child.”