Oyebanji Unveils N12 billion Economic Relief Programme

…As EKSG moves to support households, formal and informal sectors

Ekiti State governor, Biodun Oyebanji, has approved a set of carefully designed relief programmes to alleviate the hardship being experienced by the people of the state in the face of the current global economic downturn.

This was contained in a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti, the Èkiti State capital, today by the Special Adviser to the governor on Media, Yinka Oyebode.

The programme, according to the statement, included payment of one month salary arrears to state and local government workers totalling over N2.7 billion.

With this payment, Oyebode explained, the government had cleared the salary arrears owed to state government workers, adding that it would ensure the arrears owed local government workers were cleared this year.

The governor, he stated, also approved an increase of N600 million per month in the subvention of autonomous institutions, including the Judiciary and all tertiary institutions, adding “This is to allow the institutions implement the wage award being implemented for state and local government workers.”

The special adviser stated that in the same vein, Governor Oyebanji also approved the payment of two months pension arrears owed state and local government workers, totalling N1.5 billion, as well as N100 million monthly gratuity payment to state pensioners and an increase of the current N50 million monthly gratuity to local government pensioners to N100 million, saying “This brings total monthly gratuity payment to N200 million.”

“The State Government has also committed the sum of N1 billion to improve food production, especially to embark on land preparation, driven by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security’s tractorization subsidy scheme, and an input supply programme to support small scale farmers. Similarly, the Government is also committing a whopping sum of N1.2 billion it recently got as first tranche of the World Bank-financed Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support ( L-PRES) Project to transform the livestock subsector.

“The money would be spent on empowering livestock farmers, boosting livestock productivity as well as creating a conducive environment for youths and private sector involvement in livestock businesses. This will include revamping all veterinary clinics across the local government areas and the state veterinary hospital; development of poultry sector across the value chain from production to processing; Feed formulation and artificial insemination (AI) training and support, among others”, he stated

Oyebode stated that the State was also additionally launching a N500 million loan programme in partnership with Access Bank to support medium and small-scale businesses which he explained was in addition to N1 billion cooperative fund to provide low interest working capital for cooperatives and members.

These programmes, he stated, would ensure that small-scale businesses, a critical part of the state economy, also benefited from the relief programme, and help kick-start the economy.

The final set of the programmes, according to Oyebode, included a continuation of the conditional cash transfer to low income households as well as the CARES programme which among others focused on livelihood support, labour-intensive support, technology support for small businesses and support for agric produce, for which the sum of N3.5 billion was earmarked.

He stated that it also included the free bus service for students and workers within Ado-Ekiti and Ikere-Ekiti, which would now be extended to Ekiti State University (EKSU) and other major towns; and distribution of food items to the 177 wards of the state being coordinated by the local government councils and community development associations.

All these, Oyebode stated, were in addition to on-going infrastructure projects across the state, boosting of power supply to critical areas, including connection of EKSU campus to the IPP; which, he noted, would also help lower the cost of logistics- a big driver of commodity prices; the free malaria treatment for elderly citizens and children as well as free delivery for pregnant women at all primary healthcare centres across the state.

“Governor Oyebanji assured the people of the state of his administration’s commitment to the welfare and wellbeing of the citizens, urging them to cooperate with government at the local, state and federal levels as concerted efforts are being made not only to cushion the effect of the economic situation, but to grow the economy in line with the shared prosperity agenda of the administration and the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu”, Oyebode concluded.