By Ikenna Obianeri
The Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, on Monday, said about 59,000 persons made up of pensioners and public servants in the employment of Anambra State and 21 local government areas, will be paid an additional N12,000 for the period of September to December 2023 to cushion the effect of the petroleum subsidy removal.
Soludo stated that the gesture is in addition to the 10 per cent salary increase, which the state has been paying since January 2023 as part of its “foresighted” response to the rising inflation.
This was made known in a statement by the governor’s Press Secretary, Christian Aburime, obtained in Awka, on Monday, while pointing out that the long overdue disruptive change, especially the removal of subsidy on petrol comes with certain hardships on all the residents of Nigeria.
Soludo, in the statement, acknowledged that President Bola Tinubu has rolled out an agenda of palliatives as the response of the Federal Government towards alleviating the effect of the subsidy removal.
However, he did not categorically indicate if Anambra State had received its share of the Federal Government palliatives said to be rolled out across the 36 states of the country, but the governor assured that Anambra State will partner with the Federal Government’s agenda to ensure that its residents benefit maximally from the federal programmes.
While assuring that the state government will continue to clear the backlog of gratuity and pension of its pensioners, the governor said the state will be distributing rice to over 300,000 households in the coming weeks across the 326 wards of Anambra.
He said, “Nigeria is undergoing fundamental re-setting of the macroeconomic framework. The long overdue disruptive change, especially the removal of subsidy on PMS and reduction of distortions in the exchange rate, comes with certain hardships on all the residents of Nigeria.
“Governments at all levels in Nigeria have shown a keen commitment to ameliorate the consequent short-term effects of the policy change on livelihoods.
“The President, Bola Tinubu, has rolled out an agenda of palliatives as the response of the Federal Government. We support the FGN agenda and expect to partner with the Federal Government to ensure that Anambra residents benefit maximally from the federal programmes.
“Ours is a government on the foundation of the All Progressives Grand Alliance. We are progressives, and the welfare of the ordinary Nigerians, especially the poor and vulnerable, remains our primary focus.
“In our 2024 budget, we shall roll out a more comprehensive agenda to address the medium to longer-term issues that will help to smoothen the path for all our residents, and ensure that everyone shares in our broad agenda of building a livable and prosperous homeland.”
“In the meantime and over the remaining four months of the year (September – December 2023) as well as within the context of our 2023 budget framework, we are rolling out a few immediate and medium-term measures.
“Our response recognises that the subsidy removal affects all citizens, especially millions of the unemployed and underemployed youths and vulnerable segments of the population. Our interim response reflects the need to target the total population.
“In our foresighted response to the rising inflation, our government had increased the salaries of all public servants by 10 per cent effective January 2023. We have been paying the 10 per cent adjustment since January 2023.
“In addition to the salary increase, we will be paying every pensioner and public servant in the employment of the Anambra State Government and the 21 LGAs (approximately 59,000 persons) for the period September 2023 to December 2023, a monthly flat non-taxable cash award of N12,000. This is to augment their monthly take-home.”
The governor said highly vulnerable persons such as hawkers, wheelbarrow and truck pushers, vulcanizers, artisans, okada drivers, petty traders with capital of less than N100,000, are exempted from all forms of taxation/levies in the state.
“We are reviewing the plethora of other levies, fees, and charges in these schools. Before schools resume in September 2023, we shall make further announcements to sanitize the system and reduce the burden on our pupils/students and their sponsors.
“We call on the landlords to show empathy to their tenants at this challenging moment and consider easier options for rent payment.
“Still on initiative to reduce the cost of transportation for the larger segment of Ndi Anambra, we will be applying to purchase many of the CNG-fueled buses to be provided by the Federal Government for intra-state transportation. The aim is to reduce the cost of transportation within Anambra.
“We recently distributed a total of 1.1 million oil palm and coconut high-yielding seedlings to over 100,000 households. We plan to sustain the distribution of one million seedlings per annum over several years in continuation of our revolution to create a new palm-coconut green/industrial ecosystem that will guarantee 500,000 – 1,000,000 households earning N1.5m to N3m per annum, thereby lifting them out of poverty, create wealth and earn foreign exchange for Nigeria.
“We are proposing a revolving loan scheme at near-zero interest rate. We are targeting over 100,000 micro businesses.
“We are determined to collaborate with the Federal Government to ensure that Anambra residents benefit maximally from the myriad of palliatives being rolled out by Mr. President, including; Provide our updated Social Register for Anambra residents to benefit from the FGN cash transfer — apply to attract a conditional grant of N50,000 to at least 1,300 nano business owners in each of the 21 LGAs of the State- support MSME and Startups in Anambra to apply for N500,000 – N1million soft loan each at 9% p.a and repayable over a period of 36 months.
“In collaboration with the Organised Private Sector in the State, apply to obtain the N1bn soft loan each at 9% pa and repayable over 5 years available to 75 manufacturers in the country;– the N100 billion CBN commercial agricultural loan– the Gas conversion scheme,” Soludo added.