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Governor Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State has approved a series of targeted relief initiatives aimed at easing the economic challenges faced by the state’s residents amidst the ongoing global economic downturn.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Special Adviser, Media to the Governor, Olayinka Oyebode in Ado-Ekiti on Monday.

According to the statement, the programmes include the payment of one month salary arrears to State and Local Government workers totalling over N2.7 billion. With this payment, the Government has cleared the salary arrears owed to State Government workers, and will ensure the arrears owed Local Government workers are cleared this year.

Governor Oyebanji also approved an increase of N600 million per month in the subvention of autonomous institutions including the Judiciary and all tertiary institutions. This is to allow the institutions implement the wage award being implemented for State and Local Government workers.

Similarly, Governor Oyebanji has authorized the disbursement of two months’ pension arrears owed to State and Local Government employees, amounting to N1.5 billion.

Additionally, a monthly gratuity payment of N100 million to state pensioners has been approved, along with an increase in the monthly gratuity for local government pensioners from N50 million to N100 million, effectively doubling the 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.

The State is also launching a N500 million loan programme in partnership with Access Bank to support medium and small scale businesses. This is in addition to N1 billion cooperative fund to provide low interest working capital for cooperatives and members. These programmes will ensure that small scale businesses, a critical part of the State economy, also benefit from the relief programme, and help kick start the economy.

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

It also include the free bus service for students and workers within Ado-Ekiti and Ikere-Ekiti, which will now be extended to Ekiti State University (EKSU) and other major towns; and the distribution of food items to the 177 wards of the State being coordinated by the Local Government Councils and Community Development Associations.

All these are in addition to ongoing infrastructure projects across the State, boosting power supply to critical areas including connecting the EKSU Campus to the IPP; which will 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 health care centres across the state.

The Governor 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.

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