By Amos Aar
GOVERNOR Hyacinth Alia of Benue State has rolled out plans for the utilisation of the five billion naira palliative given the state by the federal government to cushion the effect of subsidy removal on the citizenry.
Governor Alia who spoke Tuesday in Makurdi during the flag off of the distribution of relief materials to victims of 2022 flood disclosed that he has already received two billion naira out of the N5 billion and was waiting to receive the remaining tranche.
The federal government had recently approved five billion naira to each state of the federation to enable them to procure items for distribution to the people to mitigate the harsh effect of fuel subsidy removal.
Governor Alia said there will be free registration for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and National Examination Council (NECO) examination for graduating students in all government-approved secondary schools in the state for the 2023/2024 academic year.
The palliative fund will also be used to provide intensive computer and ICT training for two thousand (2000) youths of the state to enable them to acquire jobs within and outside the state.
He added that part of the N5 billion palliative will be used to provide grants to five thousand (5000) women in the state based on revised social register of the women cooperatives.
Other plans on how to utilise the palliative fund according to the governor include: procurement of one hundred new buses for the state-owned transport company, Benue Links limited, to provide services to the people of the state at a subsidized rate; provision of shuttle buses in the three major towns of Makurdi, Gboko, and Otukpo to ease movement within the towns; payment of one-month pension arrears to state and local government retirees; and provision of food items like rice in large quantities to each of the 23 local government areas in the state, amongst other things.
Alia urged Benue people to be patient as the state government is awaiting the release of the remaining N3 billion to start fulfilling his many promises that may require huge budget.