Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Umo Eno, has said he would implement a “One Project Per Local Government” Initiative to create employment in the rural communities.
He said that these projects were being awarded to indigent contractors from the respective Local Government Areas who in turn, are to recruit the locals to work and enhance their productivity as well as boost their purchasing powers.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that Eno stated this when he received the report of the palliatives Committee set up by the government to work out modalities to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal on residents of the state.
In a brief ceremony at the Executive Council Chambers, Government House, Uyo, to receive the State Palliative Committee Report, Governor Eno said he was willing to surpass the recommendations of the Committee for the well being of the people.
The Governor urged Local Government Chairmen to liaise with the State Executive Council to identify peculiar areas of need to be favoured by the initiative, urging the council areas to donate lands for the planned agricultural revolution by the state government.
He said, “What we are thinking of doing beyond this is to formally launch a one Local Government /One Project Initiative across the 31 local Government Areas.
“In the next one month, we want to ensure that we have one project in each Local Government Area of our State. We want to ensure that our young people get to work in the local governments.
“We have a whole lot of projects to chose from, whether it is hospital or model school, water or any of the projects that we have listed in the A.R.I.S.E. Agenda to support rural development.
“We expect Chairmen of each Local Government and critical Stakeholders in those local Governments to work with us in the Exco and be able to identify the project within the framework of what we are doing now to be able to ensure that we deliver projects to the local Governments by appointing contractors within that local government that will also engage people within the local Government.
“I think that is one of the creative palliatives that Government can provide by creating jobs and putting money in the pockets of the people.”
He affirmed that the Committee’s report, at a glance, were familiar and expected, with most of its recommendations already being part of his administration’s A.R.I.S.E. Agenda and obliged to study the report more closely alongside members of the State Executive Council to enable them come up with the State Government’s final position and implementation plan.
“We have to sit down and review this in line with the present economic realities and what accrues to the State. That notwithstanding, we assure you of our willingness to do much more than you have recommended and continue to help our people in the short, medium and long term basis.
“What we have received so far from the federal government is two billion naira and 3000(units) 50kg bags of rice. We believe that the other ones will come. If the Federal Government is donating five billion, the committee has recommended another five billion, so what we have here is ten billion as the estimates for the palliatives,” he said.
The governor emphasized that the palliatives should be given to the poorest of the poor across party lines and to residents of the State especially those residing in the rural communities.
“I listened to you in terms of distribution of the palliatives and I love the modalities you have adopted. Please this must be across party lines. It is for Akwa Ibomites and residents of Akwa Ibom. All the people living here, whether they are indigenes or non-indigenes so long as they reside in Akwa Ibom.
“I am happy that you have clearly mentioned that as part of your report. Please, this is not a PDP or an APC thing. It is an Akwa Ibom thing and we should ensure that we drive this down as we go to the villages to distribute the palliatives,” he said.
Earlier in his presentation, Secretary to the State Government and Chairman of the Palliatives Committee, Enobong Uwah, thanked the governor for his decision to set up a committee to work out modalities that would cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal on the people and ensure even distribution of the palliatives to the needy in the state, saying the gesture is commendable.
He said that the Committee has been painstaking in its duties and has come up with measures that would ameliorate the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on all classes of people.
Prince Uwah added that the Committee has made far-reaching long and short term recommendations and listed some of the relief measures to include distribution of food items to the poorest of the poor at the village levels with proper monitoring mechanism to ensure that the items get to the targeted people especially those in the rural communities; setting up of committees at the Local government levels with Paramount Rulers, Village Heads, Labour leaders, Student leaders, people with disabilities; and distribution of seedlings and agrochemicals to farmers.
Other recommendations include a three-month financial support to civil servants, approval of four working days to civil servants, reduction in cost of daily tickets to transport operators, reduction in price of daily tickets for market women, payment of bursary to students, provision of free drugs for pregnant women, children and the aged, provision of buses to convey workers to and from work, opening up of economic access roads in rural areas, entrepreneurial support for business operators, intervention in primary healthcare delivery systems, provision of micro health insurance scheme for civil servants, establishment of fuel depot in the state, among others.