Kwara Govt Flags Off N41million Empowerment For Women

The Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has flagged off a N41million empowerment for women in the state.

The Governor who made a symbolic presentation of N20million cheques to beneficiaries at the Banquet hall, Ilorin said his administration has prioritized the informal sector as a major driver of economic activities and as the area in which majority of the people are making a living.

He said the remaining balance of N21million will be released to qualifying women in the coming month noting that empowerment is part of his administration’s efforts to enhance the livelihoods of women.

According to him, “it is designed to assist women who are the powerful majority of the electorate and are in dire need of financial assistance to do their businesses”.

The Governor said the approach of his administration is to strengthen the informal sector, which is: the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) under which micro-credit funds are disbursed via micro finance banks to qualifying cooperative groups.

He said the first set of beneficiaries are drawn from the three senatorial districts of the state saying the decision to prioritize women was born out of the role they played in shaping the society politically, socially and economically.

“In view of this, this government has put in place various programmes to educate, and empower women and young girls with the tools, resources and skills necessary to build productive lives for the benefit of the society”, he stated.

The Governor who expressed optimism for the repayment noted that the scheme has recorded a 75 percent repayment rate stating that women have greater incentive to utilize the funds prudently and repay on schedule.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr (Mrs) Ayinke Saka, disclosed that the state government under the first phase of the programme empowered 350 women across the 16 LGAs.

Paris/London Loan Refunds: We’ve Complied With Buhari’s Directive – Kwara Govt

The Kwara State government says it has already complied with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that states should use at least 25 per cent of their London and Paris Club refund to offset salary arrears.

A statement from the State Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Demola Banu, noted that with the release of N1billion to local governments and another release of N890million to some tertiary institutions to clear their salary backlog, the State government has exceeded Buhari’s directive.

The Commissioner stated that this reflects Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed’s commitment to the welfare of workers in the State.

He added that the government remains determined to help LGs clear their current salary arrears in the shortest possible time.

Alhaji Banu emphasised that even before the State got its share of the Paris Club refund, the government was not owing any State civil servant, except staff of some tertiary institutions.

He said the approval of N890m for institutions is meant to clear their arrears.

Banu also disclosed that the balance of the refund will go towards other staff-related payments, injection of funds into to the State Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SME) scheme, Community Health Insurance Scheme, and completion of ongoing and new infrastructural projects across the State.

The Commissioner noted that these programs and projects will be of immense benefits to all residents and citizens of Kwara State.

Light Up Kwara: Govt To Fund Project Over 10 Years

The Kwara State Government says its forthcoming Solar-powered street lights project, Light Up Kwara (LUK) will be funded over 10-year period under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and through the Kwara State Infrastructure Development Fund(IFK).

The State government made this disclosure through a statement issued on Monday by Dr. Muideen Akorede,  Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications to Governor Abdulfatah

The state government said under the PPP arrangement, the contractors will finance, build, operate and maintain the 3000 streetlights before handing them over to the state government which will have ten years to pay for the LUK project.

It therefore explained that the PPP arrangement and the deferred payment is the only way government can afford a project of the magnitude of LUK under prevailing circumstances.

The government further clarified that the ten-year payment for the LUK street lights will not commence until government is satisfied with the quality and maintenance of the project which scheduled for completion within a year.

Accordingly, the government said an affordable payment plan is in place to ensure there is no pressure on the state’s finances under LUK or any other IFK project.

The government assured that it will continue  to meet its obligations for other infrastructure  projects, people-oriented programs and prompt payment of salaries and pensions before, during and after the LUK project.

Pointing out the innovativeness of the LUK project, the statement
noted that the streetlights will be powered through solar power tunnels at specific locations as part of government’s efforts at
promoting a green economy.

The statement added that the project consultants will source materials locally, and will also engage workers within the State, to boost local economy and create employment.

Highlighting other benefits of the project, the government  explained that the streetlights will enhance security, boost the night economy, and improve aesthetics.

Illegal Recruitment: Kwara Govt To Sanction Indicted Officials

Five individuals indicted for the illegal recruitment of 971 workers into Kwara State Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) are to face disciplinary action.

Addressing journalists on Friday after the State Executive Council(SEC)  meeting, the State Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Engr. Musa Yeketi while noted the affected officials had recruited workers in excess of the number approved by the State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed.

According to Yeketi, two of the indicted officers are retired, while the remaining three are still in active service. The Commissioner stressed that the officials have been referred to the Office of the Head of Service for punishment in accordance with civil service rules.

The State government had in 2014 given TESCOM approval to employ 449 staff for Mathematics, English and core Science disciplines to cater for the shortfall of teachers in those subjects as well as security guards.

However, the Commission, according to Yeketi, was found to have employed about 1420 personnel,  leaving a total of 971 illegally recruited.

On the fate of the affected workers, the Commissioner stated that the Council directed that the appointments of the approved 449 staff should be regularized, while those of the remaining 917 should be reviewed in line with needs of the Commission in the area of Mathematics, English and other core Science subjects.

Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the Governor, Dr. Muyideen  Akorede said that SEC also deliberated on the recent discovery of 8,863 suspected ghost personnel on the payrolls of both the state and local governments by the Personnel Database Development Committee.

He explained that the major resolutions of the Council are implementation of harmonized staff identification system, which will be renewed yearly, development of clear job description template for civil servants and the authentication of credentials, which according to him, is the next phase of the staff verification exercise.

On the upsurge of cult-related activities in the State, Dr. Akorede said that the council commended the State Ministry of Justice for the recent prosecution and conviction of some cultists in the State under the amended anti cultism law.

Kwara To Begin Implementation Of Infrastructure Fund (IFK) On Dec 8

The implementation of the Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund (IF-K), which was previously scheduled to commence tomorrow, December 1 has now been postponed to Thursday, December 8, 2016.

According to a statement issued by Dr. Muyideen Akorede, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, the postponement was necessitated by the need to allow more time for compliance with all regulatory and legal requirements.

The statement noted that the commencement of the IFK scheme will be preceded by the formal signing of contract documentation by the State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, the fund trustee, Investment One and project partners, on Monday, December 5.

Additionally, the statement stressed that the scheme is fully on course and that all contractual obligations including payments and project milestones will be upheld with the release of funds for eligible ongoing and new capital projects next week Thursday.

Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund was established by the State government as a sustainable funding window for the implementation of high-value projects such as the construction of Geri-Alimi Diamond underpass, establishment of two campuses for the Kwara State University(KWASU) in Osi and Ilesha-Baruba, dualization of Michael Imodu-Ganmo road, dualization of Sango to Oke Ose, among other infrastructure.

KWSG Rejects NULGE Demand For N33b Refund

The Kwara State government has rejected the demand by the State’s chapter  of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) for a refund of N33.6 billion to local government councils in the state as illogical, and baseless.

In a statement by Dr. Muideen Akorede, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, the State government described NULGE’s demand as unfortunate and curious saying that there is no basis for demanding a refund of that amount or any other figure from the government. It said the government, on the contrary, has severally augmented allocation to local government in recent months to enable them pay workers.

The government denied the deducting from the 16 local government councils’ statutory allocations for the said 84 months or at any other period, maintaining that it does not tamper with LG funds as alleged by the workers.

The State government, however, clarified that funds are shared among Basic Education teachers, LGs, Pensioners, Traditional councils as prescribed by law, adding that the Ahmed administration ensures this distribution is done transparently on monthly basis.

Additionally,  the statement noted  that Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed only proposed to take over payment of JSS teachers in order to reduce the burden on LGs and enhance their capacity to pay workers in view of reduced allocation from the federation account.

It therefore, stressed that it is ironic that NULGE is using the said proposal as the basis for its illogical demand for refund, adding that it is a public knowledge that allocations accruing to all tiers of government have dropped due to fall in oil prices.

The statement said it is time NULGE woke up to that reality of the economic situation and the fact that the Ahmed administration does not tamper with LG funds, and that the State government remains committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in the distribution of LG funds as specified by law.

The government also advised NULGE to direct its request for promotions and salary increase to their respective local government councils as the state government is not responsible for such.

Saraki: Gov Ahmed Commends FG

Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has commended the Federal Government for withdrawing the forgery charges against the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki and the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweramadu.

Governor Ahmed in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, says the withdrawal of the charges was proper, necessary and timely.

According to him, “the withdrawal provides a vista of opportunity for national cohesion and a platform for synergy between the executive and the legislative arms of government”.

Gov Ahmed expressed the hope that the federal government will take other appropriate similar actions so that all hands will be on deck in the task of moving Nigeria forward.

The Governor emphasised effective legislative and executive arms cordial relationship as a precursor to the delivery of good governance to the citizenry.

World Teachers Day: Governor Ahmed Promises Teachers Better Welfare Package

Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has promised improved welfare packages for teachers in the state as internally generated revenue improves.

Governor Ahmed made the pledge at the Teachers House, Ilorin, the state capital on the occasion of the 2016 World Teachers Day, with the theme “Valuing Teachers, Improving their Status.

The Governor pledged that teachers in the state would continue to enjoy better support from the government because teachers are important in the development of the society.

He noted that challenges facing teachers should be looked at from a national perspective in order to get the required attention in proffering solutions to the problems.

Governor Ahmed attributed inability to pay salaries across the country to age-long reliance on proceeds from oil, promising that better days are ahead in the state with the improved internally generated revenue.

He said that workers in Kwara state have been paid promptly as a result of the state’s improved internally generated revenue from N500m to 1.5b monthly, stressing that this was achieved through improved collection process rather than through fresh taxes.

The Governor further noted that as a result of improved revenue generation, the newly launched funding scheme known as Kwara Infrastructure development fund, IFK, will be used to finance the construction of the Geri Alimi Diamond underpass, dualise roads, build two campuses at Osi and Ilesha Baruba, renovate secondary schools, hospitals and many more projects across the state.

He assured that as long as taxes are paid people will continue to get value for their money stressing that governance has to be transparent.

Governor Ahmed charged teachers in the state to help his government with relevant information with a view to identifying ghost teachers in the state.

Earlier in his address, the State Chairman, Nigeria Union of Teachers, Comrade Musa Abubakar expressed concern over the current economic challenges, saying that workers and Teachers in particular are the worst hit by the present economic crisis as 27 states cannot not pay teachers’ salary.

Comrade Abubakar urged the Federal Government to take over the responsibilities of funding primary education as the finance of the local government is over-burdened and cannot cope with such responsibilities.

2016 FG Budget: Best For Kwara In 16 Years – Gov Ahmed

Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has said the inclusion of a number of federal roads in the State in the 2016 federal budget was the best thing that has happened to the state in the last 16 years from the Central Government.

Governor Ahmed said this at the media chat with journalists to mark the first year of his second term in office and the 2016 Democracy Day.

The Governor listed the federal roads captured in the 2016 federal government budget for reconstruction as including Share-Patigi Kogi boundary road, Kaiama-Kishi road and Ajasse-Erinle road.

According to him, if the listed federal road projects are funded, it will bring relief to the State governments’ resources as funds earlier earmarked for the roads would be used for other developmental projects in the state.

”This is the best thing that has happened to Kwara in the last 16 years that I know. For the first time we are getting federal projects in the state coming into federal budget, projects that we could have spent our money. When was the last time we had the opportunity of been noticed and get federal projects at the federal level? “ He remarked.

Dr Ahmed, who identified lack of maintenance culture as the major hindrance to development of infrastructure in the country, attributed the slow pace of infrastructure development and poor maintenance culture to too much politicking affecting governance in the country.

This, the governor said, had not allowed Nigerians to pay attention and resources to areas that could sustain the tempo of development.

On the Niger Delta militancy and blowing up of pipelines, Governor Ahmed advised the militants to embrace dialogue with the Federal Government as dialogue remains the best way of resolving conflicts.

“The bursting of pipeline is a setback for the country. And whatever grievances they have, which I am sure is not unconnected with economic benefit anyway, there are better ways this could be resolved through dialogue”, he said.

Kwara To Review Anti-Cultism Law

As part of efforts to check the menace of cultists in the state, the Kwara State Government is to review the State Anti-Cultism Law to include a minimum of 10 years and maximum of 14 years jail term for anyone found guilty of cult related activities in the state.

The State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Kamaldeen Ajibade said this while briefing journalists on the outcome of this month state’s  executive council meeting.

According to Barrister Ajibade, who dispelled insinuation that it had whittled down law against cultism in the State, assured that  “if the Bill is passed it would check the excesses of hoodlums in the state”.

On the issue of Share/Tsaragi, Barrister Ajibade said the Council agreed to harmonise the 2010 and 2016 white papers recommendations, adding that the Council took cognisance of various court cases in relation to the Share/Tsaragi conflicts and would be guided appropriately.

Ajibade assured stakeholders that the state executive council would review the recommendations of the White papers at a later date to ensure permanent peace in the communities.

Meanwhile, The Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has approved the appointment of Comrade Bisi Fakayode as the Special Adviser, Labour Matters.

He replaces Barrister Gobir Hassan Ahmed who has been reassigned as Special Adviser, Judiciary Matters. The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Sola Isiaka Gold, who announced the appointments, congratulated the new appointees and urged them to justify the confidence reposed in them by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed.

Gov. Ahmed: BVN To End Salary Delay

Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has given an assurance that the verification of workers in the state through the presentation of Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) will end delay in the payment of salaries in the State.
Governor. Ahmed gave this assurances at a meeting with the All Progressives Congress (APC) Stakeholders in Ilorin, the state capital,adding that through the presentation of the BVN,  salaries of local governments workers and State Universal Basic Education teachers, which had been a major problem would become a thing of the past.
According to the governor, the approval by the Debt Management Office of the N20 billion Bond to be secured by the State, the tempo of the development of infrastructure in the state would be faster.
Some of the projects tied to the bond, the governor said, include the expansion of some major roads in the State capital,  construction of two new campuses of Kwara State University in Ilesha-Baruba and Osi in Baruten and Ekiti  local government areas respectively.
“With increased internally generated revenue,  youth empowerment and employment programme of this administration would also improve tremendously”, he promised.
Governor  Ahmed called for greater unity among the people of the State, stressing that ” our strength is in our unity as it creates better understanding and development ; indications  that things will get better “.
On local government elections,  Dr Ahmed, charged APC local and ward chairmen and stakeholders in the state to be fully prepared in their respective
council areas through inclusive approach in the emergence of candidates for elections in all the 16  local government areas of the state.
He advised that the principle of zoning formula,loyalty,credibility must put into consideration before councillorship and  chairmanship candidates could emerge.