Nigeria: Why we replicate FG’s social investment programmes in Kwara – AbdulRazaq

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Friday said he adopted the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme to support petty traders and the vulnerable and lift as many people as possible out of extreme poverty.

“This scheme is to assist our market men and women, particularly petty traders. But it is important for beneficiaries to pay back the loan to get a double of the first tranche,” the Governor said in Ilorin as he officially launched the disbursement of the money to 21,623 beneficiaries statewide.

“I was with the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo when he launched the social investment scheme in Kwara and we have seen the huge benefits of the programme. That is why we decided to do same here. I saw the impact and I believe in it. This is one of the best programmes of the federal government.”

AbdulRazaq said he favours empowering the poor with public funds in a sustainable and transparent manner without subjecting them to inhuman treatment in the guise of giving them handouts.

“This is not a personal money but government’s funds which belong to all of you. We don’t believe in converting public funds to private properties and then give out crumbs in the pretense of giving you free money. We are giving you the money (which is called Owo Isowo) to do business and repay in a relaxed manner. We are starting with 21,623 market men and women to scale up their businesses. Once they pay the first tranche, the money will be doubled because of its trickle down effects. This will help the poorest of the poor,” he said.

“During the lockdown, we supported transporters and we will extend the gesture to the aged very soon under Owo Arugbo. So, in all, we are looking at about 100,000 beneficiaries of the social investment programme in the first phase. The programme will roll on as beneficiaries (Owo Isowo) pay back.”

The Governor said many donor partners and the federal government have hailed the Kwara model which has improved on the experiences of the Federal Government.

“The World Bank and the federal government are urging states to replicate this scheme to lift people out of poverty and this is the best way to go about it,” AbdulRazaq said.

Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Danladi, said the social programme shows how committed the administration is to the welfare of the poor.

He appealed to the beneficiaries to use the money judiciously and repay within stipulated time to enable them benefit more from the scheme.

For his part, commissioner for enterprise AbdulWahab Agbaje  assured the market men and women that the government would continue to promote their welfare and enhance their business activities.

Babaloja General of Kwara State Alhaji Abdullahi Saad and the Iyaloja General of the State Hajia Sidikat Akaje commended the Governor for the programme and provision of streetlights, solar-powered borehole, rehabilitation of Ipata Market internal road and construction of Ipata Oloje road.

Rofiat Tajudeen, a beneficiary, said the scheme is game changer for many petty traders who need a little push to keep their trading going and saving them from hunger.

Latifah Musa and Rukayat Jimoh, who also benefitted from the programme, described the programme as the first of its kind in the state for poor traders who have no collaterals to obtain any facility from the bank. They promised to ensure prompt repayment over the next six months.

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State Yahaya Seriki rejoiced with market men and women over the fulfillment of the promise made by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, saying the administration is poised to do more for the poor and vulnerable.



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