The Chairman of Odiolowo/Ojuwoye Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, Honourable Razaq Olusola Ajala has taken the institution of palliatives to the people to cushion the effect of the removal of the petroleum subsidy to another height.
Giving full details of the relief packages on Thursday, 17 August, 2023, at the council secretariat at Ilupeju, Ajala was emphatic in stating that the measures to be put in place by his administration will sustain and enhance welfare of the people of the area.
“Our intention is to put in place enduring measures which will stand the test of time,” he said at the event which also coincided with his birthday celebration.
According to him, while removal of oil subsidy seemingly looked harsh, it’s a step that must be taken “not meant to inflict sufferings on the people, but to usher in an era of growth and development for the country. An era of equitable distribution of resources devoid of an hitherto situation where only a few wealthy and powerful individuals rule over our wealth”.
Speaking further the Odiolowo/Ojuwoye LCDA boss stated that, “to achieve our aim of even development and greatness, we must endure pains but I want to assure you that the pains we are going through now will be temporary. Very soon, and I mean very soon, we will start to reap bountiful rewards of this seemingly hard policy”.
Ajala was of the opinion that government will not fold its arms and watch the people continue to lament.
“We must complement the efforts of government at state and federal levels to bring succour to our people. In essence, we have thus put in place various measures: immediate, short and long term to cushion the effect of this trying period,” he said.
Thus, Ajala, who is the Secretary of Conference 57, umbrella organisation of Council Chairmen in Lagos State, reeled out far reaching measures and programmes meant to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal on the people of the council area.
The programmes and measures he reeled out at the event are listed below:
(1) Quarterly Trade Assistance Programme (TAP). Through this programme, the Ajala administration will be disbursing a sum of N10 million every quarter to small scale entrepreneurs. This money will be disbursed among selected entrepreneurs quarterly and is meant to lift their businesses.
“For this, we are targeting between 250 and 500 small scale entrepreneurs to benefit from this programme,” he said.
(2) N250m Interest-free loan: “between now and the life of this administration, we are disbursing N250 million as loan small scale business owners. Not only that, we have also decided to disburse N100 million between now and the end of this year.
“For this and for supervision, each business owner can only access a maximum of N1 million only.
“The business must be a bankable one while it must be able to employ at least one person apart from the owner who must be resident of this council area.
“With this, we aim to reduce the number of unemployed youths in this council area while also enhancing economic activities in Odiolowo/Ojuwoye LCDA,” he said.
(3) Establishment of Odiolowo/Ojuwoye Traffic Maintenance/Environmental Corps (OTMEC): According to him, the aim of establishing this is to provide employment for youths and women and also complement the efforts of the state Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and the Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC).
(4) Employment of Teaching and Non-teaching Staff: “It’s an open secret that some of our public primary schools lack adequate number of teachers and we have to agree that the state government alone cannot provide all the needs of the public schools.
“As a grassroots administration, we have to complement the efforts of the state government where necessary and urgent. It is because of this that we have decided to employ teaching and non-teaching staff to complement those already working in our various public schools.
“We are not doing this alone. We are going to collaborate with all stakeholders in the education industry: the Parents Forum, school-based management committee and other relevant stakeholders. The idea is not only to provide employment but also to provide and improve on the basic education needs of our pupils,” the Odiolowo/Ojuwoye LCDA Chairman said.
(5) Employment of ad-hoc Medical Personnel: To support and complement those already on ground, the Ajala administration had concluded arrangements to employ medical personnel who will work on ad-hoc level.
According to him, this also has the twin aim of creating employment and improving service delivery
(6) Upgrading 2 PHCs For 24-hour Service: “before now, we have only one public health centre (PHC), Ayantunga which provides 24-hour service to residents of our council.
“I’m happy to inform you that this is going to change as we have concluded plans to upgrade Kajola and Ajisegiri PHCs to enable them provide 24-hour health care delivery to our people,” he said.
(7) Introduction of Monthly Subsidized Food Items: Ajala also announced that his administration is introducing monthly subsidized food items for residents.
“By this, we intend to purchase essential edible food items in bulk and sell to residents at very subsidized rate.
“Apart from this, we are also providing monthly free food distribution to the aged and the needy,” he explained.
(8) Introduction of Subsidized Transport Fare for Selected Routes: The Chairman also announced that his administration is discussing with some private transport companies in the council with the aim of reaching agreement on subsidized transport fare for some selected routes in Odiolowo/Ojuwoye LCDA.
Ajala went further to state that all these can’t be achieved without the enabling bye-law giving legal backing to the disbursement of various funds.
“Therefore, we are presenting a proposal to the Legislative Arm of the council which will in turn promulgate a bye-law giving us legal backing for all these programmes,” he said.