By Muhammad Zakari
Good, good news are coming from the Kwara State Social Investment Programmes (KWASSIP). KWASSIP is a creation of our own Godsent in Kwara State, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. Since its establishment, the people of Kwara ranging from traders, artisans, aged, young entrepreneurs, small and medium scale enterprises owners, among others, have been largely impacted from its multi-pronged programmes.
What we used to know in Kwara before under the Saraki dynasty until the people said O to ge was a deliberate attempt at impoverishing the people and weaponising poverty. Political figures throw peanuts around, share pittances to the people in a most undignified manner. They capitalised greatly on the poverty of the people. There was no intentional actionable plan to decisively tackle the question of poverty since this is what they capitalised on to buy the people’s loyalty.
Governor AbdulRazaq came, saw this yawning gap and is closing it appropriately. He established KWASSIP as his own deliberate effort at breaking the yoke of poverty and empowering the people. Kwara is one of the few states that has such structure where people are provided with grants, stimulus, safety nets, soft loans and other kinds of social security.
KWASSIP has earned its accolades from far and near. Representatives of the federal government have lauded the initiative. A research team from the military did same when it appraised the system, in fact, stating that over 500,000 persons could be lifted out of poverty with KWASSIP. Statistics over the years are pointing to the wonders KWASSIP and other positive economic policies of the AbdulRazaq led government are doing. For instance, the fiscal sustainability rating of Kwara has improved drastically which means that there is dip in poverty rate. From 20th in 2018, 19th in 2019, the state is now rated 8th at the sub-national level on fiscal sustainability rating. Similarly, the poverty rate of Kwara which was put at 30.2% in 2019 has dropped to 20.4 in 2022 according to the World Bank State-by-State Poverty Index. Unemployment rate is now at 16.5% from 21.1% in 2019 per NBS report.
All these of course will be happening, since we have a government led by a prudent administrator who is not in for looting and embezzlement. He is made before coming to government. So, we are rest assured money set aside to empower the citizenry will just be for that. Support funds meant to stimulate SMEs will be channeled to just that.
In the last three years of its existence, KWASSIP has touched so many lives. Thousands of our senior citizens have benefitted from Owo Arugbo. They don’t have to know anybody. They don’t have to face a dehumanising process before getting the support funds. This is Kwara money working for Kwarans.
Traders, artisans, business owners have also benefitted immensely. Owo Isowo has covered several thousands of people. Lately, AbdulRazaq approved the disbursement of N600m to 30,000 women petty traders. The disbursement has been ongoing. Also, N200m for 4,000 artisans has been approved. All these are business grants.
Earlier, through KWASSIP, the AbdulRazaq administration has doled out soft, non-interest loans to several thousands of petty traders across the 16 local government areas that make up Kwara. Petty businesses have been stimulated and people at the lower rung of the ladder empowered.
Remember during COVID-19 how transporters, school owners were also supported with loans. When the EndSARS agitation led to the destruction of businesses, the Kwara government also was there for the victims. Their morale was down with the incident, but a responsible government was there to motivate, lift them and keep them going. All these processes have been to a large extent fair, objective and scientific.
There is also the Kwapreneur where hundreds of young entrepreneurs have accessed millions of support funds to boost their businesses. So far, two editions have held; the third edition is ongoing. In the first edition, about 170 young persons got non-interest loans between N300,000 and N6m to either develop a new business or boost existing ones. The second edition was a whole lot better. It came as a grant to about 100 young entrepreneurs on a day marking the commemoration of the International Youth Day 2022.
All these are the wonders done by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq through KWASSIP. Nobody have been left out, but the significant thing to note is that KWASSIP has touched the lives to average Kwarans. It has helped in banishing poverty in the state and our people are empowered. The opposition elements have tried effortlessly to denigrate the KWASSIP initiative.
The joke is always on them because some of their members have benefitted from these programmes. It’s therefore not about politics but touching lives. Kwara money is working for Kwarans. Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq is the one doing the wonders. Let’s do 4 more with AA.
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