….Warns against loan default
Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, has pledged to inject a staggering sum one billion naira to strengthen cooperative societies in the state for better operations and radical economic prosperity.
Governor Oyebanji disclosed the readiness of his Government to release a sum of N500 million, while same amount will be sourced from an interested financial institution in order to raise the benchmark to a billion naira thereby fortifying the operations of cooperative societies .
As a way of making lives better for civil servants, Oyebanji said that his government will soon reach a robust conclusion with the leaders of Organised Labour on the implementation of a new Living Wage for all State Civil Servants in the state .
The Governor stated these on Tuesday, at a ceremony marking the 2023 Cooperatives’ Day, held at the Ekiti Parapo Pavilion, Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
Addressing various cooperative societies, whose members were adorned in colourful Aso, Oyebanji promised to involve the cooperators in the running of all government’s economic activities to promote investments in Ekiti.
At the occasion, Oyebanji assured the civil servants of regular payment of salary deductions to strengthen and ensure a hitch-free running of all cooperative societies in the civil service.
“You sent me a job with your votes in 2022, and part of the job is to make lives better for you. Cooperative societies are good and strategic for economic prosperity. In advanced nations like India and China, they are the ones that are helping the government, trade and economy to move forward.
“We will do what we are expected to do to make your societies functional. But before we can do it, there are things we must do. When I head-hunted the Commissioner for industry, Trade and Investment from Dublin, I told her to help our cooperative societies, traders and artisans to develop.
“We have reached out to financial institutions for partnership, but they locked their doors against us because our people were indebted to them. Because of this, many have not been able to access loans in banks.
“By January, we will look for N500 million to inject into our cooperate societies. We will add another N500m sourced from the bank to make it N1 billion and this will happen by end of January, when I will distribute cheques to you. Get me correctly, it is bank that will add that N500m, we will look for that bank.
“But I want to beg of you, let us do the first tranch very zealously by ensuring that we refund the money. Many of us wouldn’t have gone to school if not for cooperative. It happened to my parents, they funded my education up to the university level through cooperative money.
“So, this government will do everything possible to promote you and make you succeed in your businesses and other ventures”.
Oyebanji advised Ekiti citizens to patronise those cooperative societies that are under regulation, and with safe investment, warnng the citizens against joining financial groups that impose outrageous interests on loans acquired.
The Governor said he had instructed the Head of Service, Engr. Sunday Akomolafe to enlist the name of a cooperative society in the Ministry to coordinate the activities of these societies .
“Let me tell you the civil servants around that your right to a living wage will not be denied you. What distinguished me from others is that, I don’t join the multitude. Let me work with the labour unions to arrive at a conclusion on a new wage that will be affordable to all of us . I don’t want to rush into conclusion on this issue. I know you deserve a better deal from this government. Just be patient with me, we will get back to you soon”.
In her submission at the event, the Commissioner for Trade, Industry and Investment, Mrs Omotayo Adeola, said Government will continue to involve the cooperaiative societies in all economic and trade activities or state government.
“Look at countries like China and Indian, they have good cooperative societies. They always received good attentions from government. You are the engine of growth, the engine of development. Every fund made available by government will go round to all cooperative members. So, let us join hands to build a virile economy for our state and for the good of all”.