Subsidy removal: AbdulRasaq approves multisectoral palliatives

On July 24, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State, Rafiu Ajakaye, announced a series of multibillion Naira palliatives aimed at mitigating the effects of the recent removal of fuel subsidy in the state. The palliatives are designed to support various sectors and demographics in the state and were introduced in response to the advice of the National Economic Council (NEC) for states to develop their own independent responses to the subsidy removal.

One of the key measures in the palliatives is a cash support of N10,000 for every public sector worker in the state. This support will begin by the end of July and continue until a new minimum wage is introduced. The aim is to help workers cope with the economic challenges resulting from the subsidy removal.

In addition to the cash support, the governor has directed the leadership of the civil service to implement a staggered work schedule not exceeding three days a week. This measure is intended to reduce transportation expenses for workers. However, essential workers will not be included in this schedule.

Recognizing the importance of healthcare personnel during these times, the governor approved the payment of new hazard and skipping allowances, as well as 100 per cent CONMESS (Consolidated Medical Salary Structure), for consultants and medical doctors under the government’s payroll. A new regime of allowances for nurses working for the state government has also been approved. These measures aim to address attrition rates in the health sector and attract and retain healthcare professionals to provide improved services for the people of the state.

Continuing on the topic of workers’ welfare, the governor authorized the immediate cash-backing of 2019 and 2020 promotions for Teaching Service Commission workers. This move follows a similar cash-backing of promotion arrears for TESCOM for the years 2015-2018. Furthermore, cash-backing for the 2021 promotion exercise of teaching and non-teaching staff of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has been approved, along with the restoration of steps for these workers.

To address the needs of students, the government has endorsed the extension of free bus rides for students of tertiary institutions in the state. This measure aims to support students’ transportation needs and ensure their access to education.

Modalities for the occasional distribution of food to poor and vulnerable households will be activated in the coming days. This distribution will be coordinated by a government team, with inputs from various stakeholders such as traditional rulers, religious bodies, market leaders, trade unionists, and community-based organizations to ensure transparency and nonpartisanship.

The Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) will activate a N500 million conditional support for petty traders and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the state. The support aims to boost farming outputs and food security by enabling the state government to pay for fertilizers and grains received from the Federal Government.

Lastly, a committee will be set up to engage with marketers to address the issue of arbitrary fixing of prices of foodstuffs, which has imposed hardship on everyone. The government is open to collaboration with market leaders to tackle this challenge and seeks to show empathy and provide assistance to various sectors of the state’s economy to ensure the well-being of its citizens.

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