By Adekola Afolabi
Restores free shuttle buses for students, public servants
To give N10,000 each to vulnerable persons
Free food packages for one million households
Ondo State Government has rolled out palliatives to cushion the effects of petrol subsidy removal on the citizens.
The Chairman, Palliative Strategy and Implementation Committee set up by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and headed by the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Wale Akinterinwa, who made the disclosure while briefing journalists on Thursday said government will restore free shuttle buses for students starting from resumption in September till December 31.
He explained that the government measures also captured Social Intervention, Agriculture, Health, public servants, and Small and Medium Enterprises.
The chairman added that the Federal Government has disbursed N7bn to every state as infrastructure funds, saying that money for the palliatives will be deducted from the funds.
According to him, Unconditional Cash Transfer for three months, of N10, 000 will be given to selected vulnerable persons in every local government.
Akinterinwa said, “Given the current economic realities based on the removal of subsidy on petroleum, the government of Ondo State wishes to announce these far-reaching palliatives measures to address pocketbook issues affecting its citizens. Here are what we are rolling out based on sectors of the economy.
“Transport: The government will restore free shuttle buses for students starting from resumption in September, till December 31st. Thereafter, affordable rates will be charged from January 2024. In like manner, free shuttle boats equipped with life jackets for students in riverine areas starting at resumption in September, till December 31st. Thereafter, affordable rates will be charged from January 2024.
“We will immediately deploy all existing buses in all MDA’s to serve as free shuttle buses to public servants till December 31st. Additional CNG BUSES will be purchased to convey public servants, to and from work at no cost to them, till December 31st.
“All pensioners in the state, be they local government or state, will get N10,000 each starting this August till December 2023.
“Food – free food packages will be distributed to one million households across the 18 local governments of the state.
“Agriculture: Farm inputs at subsidized rates will be made available to farmers. Our poultry and fish farmers will be given free drugs, maize, and feeds for their birds and fishes. In addition, training on local feed formulation and production will be given to them, to help them look inwards.
“Agrochemicals, seeds, drip lines, farm tools and power tillers will be given at subsidized rates. In riverine areas, free fishing nets and subsidized kilns will be made available.
“To ease the movement of farm produce, tricycles will be given free to farming communities. This will be supervised by officially recognized, community-based stakeholder groups.
“The state government has authorized immediate suspension of haulage fee collection on all non-graded agricultural produce. These are produce that are consumed locally and not for export.
“Health: We announce the immediate suspension of hospital registration and consultation fees. Government will reimburse the hospitals directly based on existing data.
“Public Servants: In addition to the provision of free shuttle buses earlier mentioned, there will be immediate payment of 2020 leave bonus to public servants. It should be noted that the state government has already paid leave bonuses for 2021, 2022 and 2023.
“Small and Medium Enterprises: Various categories of small and medium enterprises will benefit from Subsidy Removal Palliative.
“Students who are engaged in nano businesses on campus are not excluded. They will also get financial support. The money to nano, small, medium enterprises will be disbursed through existing government channels.
“Students who run nano businesses on campus are not left out. They will also get monetary support.”
Other Committee members present at the briefing include the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs Bamidele Ademola-Olateju; Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Dele Ologun; Special Adviser to the Governor on Union Matters and Special Duties, Mr Dare Aragbaiye; the Head of Service, Pastor Kayode Ogundele; Chairman, ODIRS, Mr Tolu Adegbie, among other members, while the labour union was represented by the State NLC Chairman, Comrade Victor Amoko.