Kwara approves palliatives to cushion fuel subsidy removal

Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has approved a number of measures as palliatives to minimise the effects of recent removal of fuel subsidy, cutting across different sectors.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye  said the package includes cash support of N10,000 for every public sector worker in the state in addition to the palliatives.

Ajakaye explained that the support will begin July and last until a new minimum wage is introduced to enable workers cope with the economic shocks created by the subsidy removal.

In deference to the new advisory of the National Economic Council, NEC, for states to design their own independent responses to the development, the Governor also 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.

Kwara had earlier introduced a three-day work schedule for its civil servants, but suspended it based on the  advisise of the NEC on a more holistic response to the development.

The staggered work plan will not cover “essential workers”, the governor’s spokesman clarified.

He added that the Governor has similarly approved the payment of new hazard and skipping allowances, and 100% CONMESS for consultants and medical doctors under the government’s payroll starting from this month. 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”, he added.

The Spokesperson further said 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 which is a policy response to the yearnings of SUBEB workers since 2016 when SUBEB workers no longer had steps, Ajakaye added.

He also stated that the Governor 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.

Ajakaye explained that it will 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 is to show empathy and deploy as much resources as the state can afford to support the people at this special time, Ajakaye stated.

The Governor has also approved for the Kwara State Social Investment Programme to activate a N500m worth of conditional support for petty traders and MSMEs in the state, he disclosed.

“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”, the statement read in part.

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