How Kwara State is Reaping Fruits of Synergy With Federal Government
By Oyewale Oyelola
It’s a statement of fact, that no government can succeed in isolation. Hence, the need for collaboration and partnership among the three tiers of government is critical towards achieving the developmental goals in an emerging democracy like Nigeria. The United Nations also emphasised on the need for government, agencies and organisations to collaborate by dedicating a goal (goal 8) of the defunct Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Goal 17 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to collaboration and partnership for development.
The story is also the same in Nigeria, especially with the kind of Federalism system in practice. Achieving developmental objectives might be difficult for state government without effective collaboration with Federal Government and its agencies and parastatals.
Therefore, good disposition of Kwara State Governor, Alhaji AbdulFatah Ahmed towards Federal Government and his readiness to create synergy that would fast track development and improve welfare of the populace is justified.
Governor Ahmed since inception of his administration has shows high level commitment to partner with federal government and others to accelerate the development of State of Harmony.
It’s not surprising that Kwarans and residents of the state have benefited more from federal government intervention programmes because of Governor Ahmed led administration has policies in place to enable smooth implementation of the programme.
The latest is the National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP) introduced by All Progressives Congress led government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. Recall federal government earmarked N500billion for four N-SIP programmes: N-Power scheme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), National Homegrown School Feeding Programme and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) for poorest Nigerians. The Social Investment programmes aimed at alleviating suffering of the masses.
The N-Power programme aim at empowering 500,000 youths both graduate and non-graduate with the view of reducing unemployment. About 10,000 youths in Kwara State were engaged in first phase of the scheme where 200,000 volunteers benefitted nationwide in 2016 with monthly stipend of N30,000 while over 10,000 have been pre selected for second phase in the state.
The large numbers of beneficiaries of N-Power in Kwara State could be attributed to collaborative efforts of state government. The Special Adviser to Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed on Youth Empowerment championed the mobilisation of people to apply for N-Power.
Findings revealed that over 100,000 out two million applicants are from the State, this increased the number of applicants selected. Kwara State government and members of Kwara State House of Assembly mobilised people to apply by sensitizing them and using different mass media channels to create awareness.
Therefore, over 20,000 volunteers would boost the state economic with N600million monthly and it will definitely has multiplier effect on the State.
Similarly in 2016, 10,700 households from 12 local government areas of Kwara State have been enrolled in Conditional Cash Transfer of social investment programmes. The state was selected alongside eight states for the pilot project and each beneficiary are now receiving N5000 monthly.
According to statement released by office of the Vice President indicated that the nine pilot states were chosen because they have an existing social register that successfully identified the most vulnerable and poorest Nigerians through a tried and tested community based targeting method working with the World Bank.
Inferences from the statement shows Kwara State government is proactive and ready to let their populace take advantage of available opportunities.
Aside that the Special Adviser to Governor on SMEs has been working round the clock to sensitise Micro and Small Medium Entreprises in the state to request for loans through Government Entreprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
It would be recalled that Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo while launching the MSMEs clinic last month announced that billions of naira will be make available to over 30,000 artisans, market women and other SME owners through GEEP.
The efforts Governor Ahmed’s foot soldiers in evangelising GEEP in markets, artisans meeting, religious centres and other semi formal gatherings has prompted many Kwarans to apply for the loan to expand their businesses.
Furthermore, Governor Ahmed has setup committee under Ministry of Education to ensure smooth take-up of National Homegrown School Feeding Programme that would commence in January 2018. Without doubt many people in the state would benefit from the programme. Parents of the benefiting pupils will save more money, others are going to serve as cooks and at the long run contribute to economic development of the state.
Moreover, Governor Ahmed led administration has also created enabling environment for FG agencies/parastatals such as CBN, Bank of Industry (BOI), Bank of Agriculture to effectively discharge their duties.
The state government recently facilitated N2billion CBN loan for Shonga Farms Holding Limited while BOI has given about N20billion loans to Kwarans and residents in 2017.
Farmers have also benefitted from Federal Government interventions to boost agricultural activities in Kwara State.
The state government deserved commendation for using various media channels to educate, inform and enlighten the populace when the need arises.
Evidently, the synergy between Kwara State and Federal Government with her agencies/parastatals has created enabling environment for businesses to grow in the state. The state is fast becoming investment hub for local and foreign investors.