ECONOMIC CHALLENGES CAN’T STOP US FROM MAKING IMPACT, SAYS EKITI GOVT
Activities marking two years anniversary of Governor Kayode Fayemi’s second term in office commenced on Thursday with the government restating its commitment to a better standard of living for the people through effective implementation of its five-pillar development agenda.
The State Commissioner for Information and Values Orientation, Hon Akinbowale Omole, at a press conference heralding activities for the two weeks anniversary celebration in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday, said the Dr. Fayemi-led administration was more determined to serve the people and deliver on all its development agenda despite the prevailing economic challenges globally.
In attendance at the press conference were the Secretary to the State government, Hon Biodun Oyebanji, Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Hon Femi Ajayi, Head of Service, Mrs Peju Babafemi, Special Adviser (Political matters), Hon Olusoga Davis, Special Adviser (Communications and Strategies), Mrs Sola-Salako-Ajulo and Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Yinka Oyebode.
Omole said the administration was on course in the implementation of life-changing policies and execution of projects designed to lift the economy of the state and make life abundant for the people.
He disclosed that the two weeks of activities would include massive commissioning of projects and launching of new ones.
The Commissioner also disclosed that Ekiti State Security Network Agency, the Amotekun Corps will be formally launched by Governor Fayemi on 19th October, 2020 as a symbol of commitment to security of life, property and investment.
Omole noted that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier in the year, compelled the government to prioritise welfare of the people, especially workers, over capital projects, adding however, that all projects embarked upon by the administration would be completed within the life of the administration.
He said: “When COVID-19 came, we prioritise our targets; we have not abandoned any project. All our projects have delivery dates.
“We are taking the security of our people more seriously and I want to tell you that Amotekun will be launched on October 19 to protect our people and ensure that they sleep with their two eyes closed.”
Omole disclosed that the second anniversary of the Fayemi administration will be marked with full cognisance of the safety protocols imposed on human race by COVID-19 pandemic.
He explained that “Steady Strides…Impacting Lives, Building Legacies,” has been adopted as the theme for the celebration of the second anniversary.
Omole identified elimination of poverty through wealth creation and social investment like monthly stipends for the elderly and empowerment of women and youth, human capital development and urban and industrial development as some of the areas the administration have made serious impact.
he expressed delight that the Ikun Dairy Farms, revived by the Fayemi administration, has started producing milk made possible through a partnership with Promasidor Group, adding that more development partners and investors have made Ekiti their destination for investment.
According to him, some of the major highlights of the anniversary include inauguration of projects from Monday, October 12 through Thursday, October 15 while Governor Fayemi is expected to deliver a State of the State Address at the House of Assembly on Friday, October 16 where he will make key policy statements on governance issues.
Responding to controversy over payment of gratuity to pensioners, Omole said the decision of the State Executive Council was that a 15 per cent deduction from total sum payable to each pensioner was agreed with the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) and the financial firm in charge.
He maintained that government did not authorise anything above the agreed 15 per cent deduction.
Mrs. Salako-Ajulo, who also shed more light on the issue, said government did not force pensioners to part with any fraction of their gratuity as the arrangement was optional. She said those who needed gratuity immediately have been given the option of relinquishing 15 per cent of the sum while those who can wait till 2022 will receive their own in bulk without any deduction.
While stressing that the arrangement was an arrangement to ease the payment of gratuity, Mrs. Salako-Ajulo said government’s lean resources could not cover about N13 billion pension liabilities they had accumulated over the years, hence the recourse to an arrangement with a financial institution broker the payment on behalf of government.
Also speaking at the conference, Mr Biodun Oyebanji said four new ultramodern model secondary schools in Ado Ekiti, named after four Ekiti icons would be inaugurated during the anniversary. He said the schools were projects were embarked upon after a careful study of pupil-teacher ratio in the state capital.
He added that they were established by the government to meet the needs of various segments of the population, bring education nearer to new neighbourhoods and give children of the less privileged better access to education.
Speaking on the delay in the resumption of newly recruited workers, Mrs. Babafemi said the exercise was disrupted by the outbreak of COVID-19 as they were due to resume work in April 2020.
The Head of Service explained that the issue of recruitment of new workers would be concluded before the year runs out while junior officers presently at home as part of health precautions would resume work very soon.
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