Makinde Allocates N1b Loan to Support Agropreneurs, SMEs, and Health Insurance in Response to Fuel Subsidy Removal
In an effort to alleviate the impact of the fuel subsidy removal on the residents of Oyo State, Governor Seyi Makinde has announced a short-term plan that focuses on the interests of the people. The plan aims to address food security, transportation, and other sectors that are currently facing economic difficulties.
Earlier in June 2023, Governor Makinde had introduced measures to cushion the hardships caused by the removal of fuel subsidy. These measures included increasing the number of Omituntun Buses on various routes in Ibadan, reducing fares for all residents, and offering half-price fares for senior citizens and students.
Building upon these measures, Governor Makinde revealed that his administration has made decisions that will benefit the majority of the people in the state. He emphasized the importance of sustainable actions in line with their promise of sustainable development under Omituntun 2.0.
The short-term plan, known as Sustainable Actions for Economic Recovery (SAfER), will primarily target the poorest and most vulnerable individuals in the state. It aims to provide support for agropreneurs trained under the Youth Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Project (YEAP) and small businesses through enterprise support and low-interest-rate loans, respectively.
Additionally, the state government is updating its social register to identify 200,000 individuals who are considered the poorest of the poor. These individuals will receive food relief packages, while 100,000 health insurance packages will be rolled out for the vulnerable members of society.
Furthermore, the Omituntun Mass Transit Buses will extend their services to cover inter-city routes across all five zones of the state. More buses will also be provided to facilitate transportation for civil servants.
Governor Makinde assured the residents of Oyo State that these measures have been carefully considered to stimulate the economy and promote sustainable development. He emphasized the commitment of his administration to prioritize the well-being of the people and ensure a softer landing in the face of economic challenges caused by the fuel subsidy removal.
In his words, he said;
“Let me now share details of our SAfER package. Following the pattern of our actions during the COVID-19 pandemic,we are updating our social register to include two hundred thousand (200,000) of the poorest of the poor. These will be provided with immediate food relief packages. As usual, we will ensure transparency in the registration process so that only those who qualify will get this immediate relief.
“We will be providing health insurance for 100,000 of our most vulnerable citizens. We will be paying their one-year health insurance premium under the Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA) scheme so that they have access to quality healthcare without paying out of pocket.
“The Omituntun Bus service will be extended to cover inter-city routes from Ibadan to all other zones of Oyo State. Details of their routes will be released in the coming weeks. So, we will have buses going from Ibadan to Ibarapa, Ibadan to Ogbomoso, Ibadan to Oke-Ogun and Ibadan to Oyo. The fares will be kept at low rates, while our senior citizens and students will board the buses at half price.
“Our farmers have not been left out. To ensure food security, we will be distributing additional inputs to 10,000 farmers. This is in addition to the input support being provided under the World Bank assisted OYS-CARES programme. Further details will be released through the relevant agencies in the coming weeks.
“Our youth agropreneurs who were trained under the Youth Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Project (YEAP) and have established businesses will also have an opportunity to contribute to food security and sustainable development as they will receive enterprise support of five hundred million naira (N500,000,000) under the SAfER package. They will get further directives on how they will benefit from the relevant agencies.
“We have also resolved to assist small businesses to stay afloat through low-interest-rate loans with the provision of a five hundred million naira (N500,000,000) facility. Our traders, artisans and other small business operators can apply for these loans through designated micro-finance banks. Details of how they may enroll for and access these loans will be announced by the relevant agencies.
“Tertiary institution students in Oyo State will board the Omituntun Buses at half price upon showing their school identity card. We will also be meeting with the student leaders of tertiary institutions in Oyo State to agree on further measures which will be added to the SAfER package for students,” he added.