Fuel Subsidy Removal: Kwara, Ogun Unfold Monthly Cash Support, Palliatives for Workers, Pensioners, Students

Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

Kwara State Governor and Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq as well as the administration of Dapo Abiodun in Ogun State, have approved palliatives of monthly cash support of N10,000 respectively for public sector workers in their states.

AbdulRazaq, in a statement yesterday, however said the palliative would begin this month and last until a new minimum wage would be introduced to enable workers cope with the economic shocks created by the subsidy removal.

In a statement issued in Ilorin, yesterday, signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye, 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.

 The statement however pointed out that, “The staggered work plan will not cover ‘essential workers.”

“The governor has similarly approved the payment, from this month, July, of new hazard and skipping allowances, and 100 per cent 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,” he added.

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.”

He stressed that the whole idea of the 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.”

According to the statement, the governor also approved for the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) to activate a N500 million 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,” he added.

On its part, in line with the current realities in the country and commitment of Ogun State Government to ameliorate the effects of removal of fuel subsidy on the well-being of good people of Ogun State, the state government also approved cash palliative of N10,000 for each public servant including pensioners to enable workers cope with the economic shocks occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy for a period of three months in the first instance with effect from July, 2023.

In a statement, Ogun state government also approved hazard allowance for all health and medical personnel in the state.

In addition, it approval peculiar allowance for public servants in the state as well as immediate release of letters of promotion in respect of 2021 and 2022 and payment of March and April, 2023 leave bonuses for public servants in the state.

Other measures announced by Ogun state government, included, “immediate cash-backing for the quarterly payment of gratuities to pensioners; Ministries, Departments and Agencies are to work out modalities of ensuring that 20 per cent of their staff strengths are off-duty daily to ease the effect of recent increase in fuel price among public servants.

“Commencement of food palliatives to the vulnerable (Rice, Garri, Beans, Maize etc). Also, the Gateway Trading Company has been mandated to establish food distribution outlets across the State, and must sell the items at the rate obtainable in the market before removal of fuel subsidy.

“The state is also establishing a commodity exchange to ensure optimisation of current and future investment in the Agro-allied sector of the economy in line with President Tinubu’s war on food insecurity.

“Full implementation of the administration’s energy transition strategy with the launch of electric motorbikes and tricycles all over the state. Commencement of conversion of state mass transit buses to CNG including staff buses and current public transportation buses in circulation to reduce cost of transportation by charging rates comparable to what obtained before deregulation. The first set are in the final stages and will be introduced to our roads in a matter of days.”

The government also announced that it would be acquiring additional new CNG Buses to ease transportation in the state charging fares comparable to what obtained before the fuel subsidy removal.

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