By Sola Omoniyi, Lagos
The palliatives allotted to Anambra State by the federal government are to be shared at the kindred level, the state government has announced.
In a statement in Awka, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Paul Nwosu said the distribution, particularly rice, would commence soon
According to him, Governor Chukwuma Soludo has planned to distribute the rice to 300,000 households across the 326 political wards in the state, adding that to ensure that it gets to the right target, the exercise would be carried out at the kindred level.
Nwosu said that even before the federal government decided to mitigate the harshness of the effects of petrol subsidy removal, Soludo had already mapped out well-thought programmes for maximum impact to mitigate economic hardship on the people.
The Commissioner said: “A well-thought-out programme for maximum impact will significantly mitigate their economic hardship over a sustainable period.
“It is crucial to clarify that out of the N5 billion announced by Mr President to be given to states, it’s only N2 billion that has been released, partly as a loan of which the states are expected to pay back 48 per cent, while the federal government will pay the remaining 52 per cent.
“As things stand, states have been mandated to mainly use this money to procure bags of rice, maize and similar food items to be distributed among the people”.
He recalled that even before the President’s initiative on palliative measures, Governor Soludo had undertaken without being prodded an increase of the salaries of public servants in the employment of Anambra State government and the local governments by 10 percent from January 2023.
He added: “The governor did this as his internal measure to respond to the rising inflation in the country.
“With the President’s formal proclamation of the palliatives regime, Governor Soludo in his typical approach to such economic issues, has dug deeper to come up with more fundamental solutions beyond rice and maize to better shield Anambra people from the turbulent whirlwind that is exerting unusual pressure on the system.
“Following the advent of economic palliatives, he has since placed pensioners and public servants on non-taxable cash award of N12,000 monthly from September to December 2023.
“The game-changer is, of course, the tax exemption to vulnerable groups which include hawkers, Okada drivers, wheelbarrow and cart pushers, vulcanizers, artisans and petty traders with less than N100,000 capital.
“Another welfare measure taken by Professor Soludo is the declaration of complete free education in public Nursery, Primary and Junior Secondary schools. The fees for public Senior Secondary schools were slashed down to N5,000 per session.
“The governor also made antenatal care and child delivery services free in all the government’s General Hospitals and Primary Healthcare Centres in Anambra State. To ensure that quality services are rendered to these women, special telephone lines have been set up for these women to call in case they are not satisfied with the standard of services or care they received”.