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No plan to sack workers, says Kwara government


Ahmed pledges to revive textile industry

Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State

Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State

GOVERNOR Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State has said it is untrue that his administration plans to retrench workers.
Ahmed, in a chat with the media in Ilorin on a programme tagged, ‘Governor Explains’, said his government would rather create job opportunities for the youths, through the establishment of a veritable textile industry in the state, than sacking any willful employee of the government.

The Governor, while reviewing the monthly Federal Government allocations to the state, rated 33 in the order of the financial distribution by the Federal, explained the readiness of his administration to boost the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state in order to wriggle itself out of the economic recession.
Ahmed said Kwara would soon become a textile hub as a textile industry will be located around Okolowo Area, Ilorin within the next six months, adding, “We want to turn this state into a textile hub for North Central states, we shall make market available too and instantly about 15, 000 people will be employed.”

Ahmed challenged some parastatals in the state to step up their generation drives as the state government would only subsidise their capital projects as enshrined in the nation’s constitution.
Specifically, he believed that, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari would not increase the monthly allocations to the state, just as he justified the recent contractual agreement between the state and a private firm, saddled with the responsibilities of collecting the IGR of the state. Already, the state has scrapped its Board of IGR, paving the way for the private firm that had since introduced electronic payment of revenues rather than cash.

However, Ahmed said the people of Kwara should at present prepare for “sacrifice,” predicting a brighter light at the end of the tunnel “within the next one or two months.”

For him, Kwara State would have been buoyant despite the ongoing dwindling economic situations, if the Federal Government had defrayed its alleged debts running into billions of Naira on some of the Federal Government’s projects executed by the state, especially, Okuta/Baruba/Kiama roads projects.

He said, “The law on the Kwara State Board of Internal Revenue was recently repealed and handed over their functions to a private body. The level the board was running would not have taken us to the desired level of revenue generation.

“Bureaucratic system in the Civil Service was making it difficult to drive revenue to an expected level. A new technology will be introduced as no cash will no longer be collected by an individual but directly paid electronically. People are paying taxes but the money don’t come to us in full.”

He added, “We brought in new system and new people. Our lives are now dependent on the IGR. We must change the process and the technology of revenue collection if we must survive.”

The Governor while speaking on the fate of the employees of the scrapped Board noted, “Former workers can join the Consultancy Agency. But they should realise that discipline under this will not be like Civil Service Rules. They can be summarily disciplined.

“They also have another option to transfer their services. No worker will be dismissed unduly because of this development, we can assure you of this. We are currently battling with unemployment issue, so what is the sense in reducing the workforce?”

The Governor spoke on the bail out from the Federal Government to the states thus, “we had a meeting with President and Vice President under Economic Council Meeting. We came to a conclusion that many states are under financial pressure and that the Federal government should intervene.

“A state like Kwara for instance had implemented some projects which should have been carried out by the Federal Government. We had an agreement that the money would be repaid by the Federal Government but up till now, nothing has been repaid.

“A typical example is the construction of Ilesha/Baruba/Kosubosu road, where we spent billions of Naira due to the importance of the road to our economic conditions. We need the money to enable us have something in our account.”
Inflow from dividends should be shared not excess crude oil LNG dividends was meant to be shared among the three tiers of government. The difference was that the last PDP government did not share it. Bail out. A major drop in federal allocation caused states to incur debts that made their cash flow under pressure.

He added, “Bail out is the restructure of the existing loans owed by states to make repayment easy. We are just submitting our loan profile in Kwara State. Even when the loans are restructured, we will not benefit much because our debt profile is not much.

“We may not easily get out of this mess because the federal allocations may not go more than it is now. Federal allocations can’t take us to the Promised Land. In 2011 we were getting N3.2billion but today, it is slightly above N1.4billion. The only way to build more infrastructures in Kwara is IGR. Besides, we will cut the cost of governance for improved benefits to the people of Kwara.

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