The Oyo State Government has described the Food distribution exercise under the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SAfER) as a testing ground that has thrown up its own challenges and successes.
In a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Prince Dotun Oyelade in spite of the challenges, the exercise was able to reach the most vulnerable in all the 33 local governments in the state and therefore a success.
The food distribution exercise which is the first phase of SAfER consists of only 25% of the food to be distributed to identified poorest of the poor in the state.
The commissioner said that henceforth the government will ensure that desperate and violent-minded people are not allowed to hijack the exercise from the organizers.
It will be recalled that organizers were overwhelmed in certain areas particularly in Ibadan zone and were forced to disperse the Food items in their custody for fear of being lynched.
Prince Oyelade however, said that the items distribution went according to plan in other areas of the state.
While assuring that the next phase which will begin in due course will be better implemented, Oyelade said that food items distribution is only an aspect of SAfER.
Other areas like Transportation, Health care Insurance, Food Security and Agriculture are also very active.
On transportation, 46 buses have been provided out of which 31 of them ply intra-city routes in Ibadan, while the others ply other key towns in Oyo state at a very reduced cost.
This transportation project has been so successful that private transport owners have had to complain about the reduction in government buses fares.
The plan of government to provide N500m as loans to small and micro entrepreneurs is also afoot and has reached advanced stage with the signing of memorandum of understanding (MOU) with seven micro finance banks across the state.
On Health, the SAfER Initiative has identified 50,000 pensioners as qualified to be enrolled in the Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA) free of charge, while 100,000 vulnerable residents will be enrolled for free treatment under the same scheme.
Under food security, the State Government earmarked N1bn as loans for Small scale farmers, and Youths Entrepreneurs and Agriculture businesses (YEAP) at N500m each.
The loans are being midwifed by financial institutions and the Agricultural Credit Corporation of Oyo state.
Prince Oyelade said these are long poverty alleviation plans of the state government that take immediate effect and that is why Governor Seyi Makinde has said that in Oyo state, we do not operate a Palliative plan, but SAfER plan, which is more enduring.
On the phase 2 of the Food distribution project, Governor Makinde has assured the people that the little anomalies identified in a few areas will be corrected.
Recall that while the State Government awaits the full complement of the N5bn promised by the Federal Government, Governor Makinde ordered the deployment of over N8bn, which includes the N2.6bn from the 33 local governments and this is the money that are being used to pay the bills of the SAfER initiative.
The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, recalled that Governor Seyi Makinde said the people of Oyo State will be well-informed about what he will use the N5bn from the Federal Government for.