By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has disclosed that negotiations are on-going between the state government and a financial institution to acquire N500 million for soft loan to petty traders and artisans to boost their economic activities.
Flagging-off the Kaura Economic Empowerment Programme (KEEP) at Kafin Madaki of Ganjuwa LGA of the state, the governor explained that the loan package to traders and artisans would enable them cushion the effects of the current global economic meltdown.
He expressed dismay that of the over N60 billion federal government support the immediate past administration in Bauchi state was opportune to acquire, not a dime has been offset from the over N20 billion gratuities liability the government owe pensioners.
Instead, the governor lamented, his administration was left with the burden of gradual settlement of gratuities and pensions backlog while grappling with monthly payments of salaries and pensions of civil servants and retirees in the state.
The Governor recalled, “I knew what President Muhammadu Buhari has done in terms of budgetary support to all the previous administrations including the Paris Club dolling out over N60 billion to Bauchi state, but we are not so likely because he has already finished the programme when we came”.
“Yes, we are benefitting so much in the social investment and economic sustainability programmes of the federal government, but we are not benefitting as much as the previous administration in terms of what is coming into coffers of the state”.
Senator Bala Mohammed explained that his administration has a lot of challenges in terms of funding having come at a time of COVID-19 and economic situation was so poor, and when the President has finished his kindness to most of the state governments.
He enumerated the Ganjuwa economic empowerment as free starter packs and N50, 000 cash to 500 persons in the LGA, three motorcycles to each of the 16 wards in the LGA with chairmen, coordinators and youth leaders as beneficiaries.
Others include the provision of N100, 000 cash to women and youth leaders, and five buses to each of the 20 LGAs of the state, saying his administration is desirous of pulling the majority of people in the state out of poverty.
Governor Bala Mohammed also commended the philanthropist gesture of African richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote who showered N200 million palliatives on 10, 000 women in each of the 20 LGAs of the state with each woman getting N10, 000 to boost her skills.