Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has said the administration will deploy more resources into making people cope with the removal of subsidy.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on Monday evening, he said the policy was the lesser evil open to the Federal Government, saying other options such as printing new currency on a large scale to fund fuel subsidy would crumble the economy and subject the people to greater harm.
“At the moment, we will concentrate more on funding welfare programmes in order to keep the economy going and helping the people to cope with the temporary discomfort. This means we’ll slow down on other things that do not specifically address this need,” the Governor told a crowd of APC leaders, stakeholders, and community leaders, including Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; Rt. Hon. Speaker Yakubu Danladi Salihu; principal officers and members of the House; APC Chairman Prince Sunday Fagbemi; Ambassador Nuhu Mohammed; Senator Ahmed Mohammed; Oloriewe Raheem Adedoyin; and Pa Oyin Zubair.
“We have rolled out several palliatives that cover different sectors, including medical workers, teachers, small and medium scale. Those who are not immediately covered will be taken on board very soon. We appeal for patience. We are working with the Federal Government to ease the temporary pains of the removal of fuel subsidy. Very soon, things will normalise, and we will be better for it,” the Governor said.
“We will also reach out to the most vulnerable members of the society. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has advised all states to go ahead and look at ways of mitigating the effects of the subsidy removal until the labour and Federal government reach an agreement on the new minimum wage. That’s why we rolled out new palliatives which include N10,000 transport allowance for workers. There will be food distribution, among several other interventions we announced yesterday.
“The federal government is also selling fertilisers and maize to state governments. The former CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele had bought a lot of fertilizers and maize which the federal government will now sell to the state governments and the states will pass it on to the public in ways to be determined.
“The challenges of mitigating the effects of fuel subsidy removal is an ongoing exercise which we will continue to look at. Not everybody will be captured from day one because of the cost of implementing the programmes. For example, nurses alone will receive about N60m a month under the new arrangement. If you look at it over a year, it is over N700m. So, when you look at the numbers, we are heading to a situation where all our statutory allocations and IGR are going into paying salaries. But for now, that is what we need to do to make sure people feed well and they are okay and then continue other businesses. It is important that we be our brothers’ keepers. Our efforts will not be confined to civil servants’ welfare alone. So, through KWASSIP, we will reach out to other segments of the society and also through food distribution like we did during COVID-19.”
State APC Chairman Prince Sunday Fagbemi, who congratulated the Governor and the party on the last electoral victory, expressed confidence that Kwarans stand the chance to enjoy more dividends in the second term of the administration.
He charged members to remain united and continue to make concerted effort to see that the party grows at the grassroot level.
His words: “I want to start by congratulating the Governor on the re-election, his emergence as NGF Chairman and the conferment on him the Commander of the Order of Niger (CON). I also congratulate those of us who worked assiduously and ensured victory in the last election.
“It is unity that is foremost required at this juncture. And I want to assure each and every one of us that the second term of the Governor will be better than the former, and I request that we cooperate with him, knowing fully well that he has some other assignments to perform at the national level. I believe that this era will bring more progress to Kwara State.”