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Gov. Soludo’s Palliatives, More Impactful

By Paul Nwosu :

Ever since President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR) announced the disbursement of N5 billion palliatives to the States, there has been something akin to a stampede by the States to dole out to the people the prescribed items to be procured. While this had been going on, a few uniformed public affairs commentators have made a show of displaying an unusual interest in how Anambra State palliatives would be managed.

Despite their jaundiced commentaries and insinuations, Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo (CFR) has remained focused in fore-thinking how well to deliver a more diverse package that would be of better impact to the living conditions of the very low income earners. A well-thought-through programme for maximum impact will significantly mitigate their economic hardship over a sustainable period of time. After all, it is not how fast but how well.

Just like the Good Books in Matthew 4:4 that states: “Man shall not live by bread alone…”, Governor Soludo rightly believes that our people shall not live by palliatives rice and maize alone. Beyond these food items which would be consumed and passed out as wastes over time, there are other departments of living that could be rejigged to support the low income earners to wade through the current economic challenges.

Even so, it is crucial to quickly 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 loan of which the States are expected to pay back 48 percent while the Federal Government will pay the remaining 52 percent.

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. To this end, Governor Soludo plans to distribute rice to 300,000 households across 326 wards in Anambra State. This is to ensure that it gets to the “Umunnas” at the grassroots.

Well 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. The Governor did this as his own 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, Governor Soludo 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.

As if that was not enough, Mr. 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.

Government has also awarded the contract for the supply and installation of modern laboratory equipment in all the 326 Primary Health Centres across the State. Modern Tele-medicine Hub and Spoke System have also been established in Anambra State.

Governor Soludo has in the last few months, under the 1Youth, 2Skills programme, trained 5000 youths in 20 different skills, and bank cheques will be doled out to them any moment from now to enable them set up their own businesses.

In addition to the 5,000 teachers already hired by this administration, Governor Soludo is looking forward to hire 3,000 more teachers to reinvigorate the quality of Anambra State public schools.

The renovation and repair of civil servants’ staff buses are ongoing. Governor Soludo plans to introduce Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)-fuelled buses to reduce Intra-State transportation costs.

Anambra State Palliative drive has a touch of Mr. Solution. The essence is to make it sustainable over a long period of time.

Commissioner for Information
Anambra State


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