Fuel subsidy: Kwara rolls out multi-billion naira palliatives to cushion effects on citizens

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By Abdulrazaq Adebayo

Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, has approved a multi-sectoral palliative for the state to mitigate the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

At a media briefing at the Government House Press Centre in Ilorin on Monday, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, disclosed that the palliatives will cut across different sectors and demographics of the state.

He said, “on top of the palliatives is cash support of N10,000 for every public sector worker in the state, which will begin this month (July) and last until a new minimum wage is introduced to enable workers to cope with the economic shock 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.

DAILY POST recalls that the Kwara government earlier introduced a three-day work schedule for its civil servants but suspended it in deference to an earlier advisory of the NEC for states to await a more holistic response to the development.

However, the new staggered work plan will not cover ‘essential workers, the governor’s spokesman clarified.

The Governor also 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 Governor has also endorsed immediate cash-backing for 2019 and 2020 promotion for Teaching Service Commission workers, as well as cash-backing for 2021 promotion exercise of teaching and non-teaching staff of SUBEB and restoration of steps to all of them.

Ajakaye also announced the approval of the extension of free bus rides for students of tertiary institutions in the state while modalities for the occasional distribution of food to the poor and most vulnerable households are to be activated in the next few days.

He explained that “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 gulped billions of naira of public funds, is to show empathy and deploy as many resources as the state can afford to support the people at this special time.

“The Governor has also approved the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) to activate 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 the arbitrary fixing of prices of foodstuffs.

“Finally, the Governor identifies with the President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for his strong commitments to sustainable economic reforms and the well-being of the Nigerian people, believing that the current discomforts are just like the pains that precede the joyful birth of a child,” he added.

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