Sokoto state redeems gratuity arrears pledge

By Hajia Sani, Abuja

The government of Sokoto State has redeemed its pledge to off-set the arrears of gratuity owed to civil servants who retired after meritorious service to the state.

In a statement on Thursday, Imam Imam-the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to Governor Aminu Tambuwal, announced that the payment had made instant millionaires of about 1,400 retired officers of the State.

According to Imam, the redemption was to honour the Governor’s pledge, made at the end of year, 2015.

In December last year, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, announced the release of N2.6billion for the payment of backlog of arrears of gratuity to nearly 2000 of the state’s former workers.

The payment captured those who retired from 2011 until August, 2015. The release of the funds elicited wide commendation from the beneficiaries, their families and the public in general. Of the 1902 beneficiaries, approximately 1400 earned one million Naira and above. In essence, in one payment swoop, Sokoto state government created 1400 new millionaires from among its citizenry.” Imam stated.

Economic boost
The gesture is expected to have some multiplier effects on the economy of the state, hitherto listed among the poorest in northern Nigeria.

Simply put, Imam argues that “any injection of new demand into the economy’s circular flow, often entails an injection of extra income, which results in more spending and creates more income, in continuum. The multiplier effect will therefore become visible in the increase in final income arising from any new injection of spending.”

“The size of the multiplier depends upon household’s marginal decisions to spend, called the marginal propensity to consume (MPC), or to save, called the marginal propensity to save (MPS). It is important to remember that when income is spent, this spending becomes someone else’s income and so on.”

Marginal propensities show the proportion of extra income allocated to particular activities, such as investment spending by construction firms, saving by households and spending on imports from abroad.
For example, if 80 percent of all new income in a given period of time is spent on local products, the marginal propensity to consume would be 80/100, which is 0.8.

“To look at it in another way, if, as one of my neighbours in Sokoto did, a beneficiary opted to complete the building of his new house with his share of the gratuity payment, the project injects extra demand and output into the economy of the state.” Imam explained.

Many businesses, including architects, suppliers of blocks, sand, water, iron rods, woods, etc will benefit directly from the beneficiary’s expenditure, in addition to the incomes, including wages and profits, with a concurrent impact on the state’s GDP.

“This reasoning came about because injections of new demand for goods and services into the circular flow of income stimulate further rounds of spending – in other words one person’s spending is another’s income,” Imam said.

Undoubtedly, the circle can lead to a bigger eventual effect on output and employment.

Where such extra incomes are saved, the multiplier is in terms of how much is available to support banks with enough cash to lend to other sectors, to ensure continuing growth of the economy of the country.

Paying out N2.6 billion to pensioners is part of a larger economic policy by Tambuwal’s administration to positively impact on the socio-economic landscape of Sokoto State.

Agro-industrial projects
Within its first months in office, the government announced a series of measures to stimulate the economy and provide job opportunities for the people.

Areas of competitive advantage in agriculture were clearly identified and defined to exploit their full potentials.

These include rice, tomato, onions and wheat farming, development of the solid minerals sector and the establishment of the Sokoto State Small and Medium Scale Development Agency (SOSMEDA), to coordinate the activities of SMEs all across the state.

Three micro-finance banks are also being planned to lend cash and support services to women and small and medium scale businesses.

The economic potentials of Sokoto State are enormous. With the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria and other important factories located in the state, Governor Tambuwal has reset the state on the path of industrialization.

With the huge potential from abundant water resources available in the state, irrigation farming is now being given the needed attention it deserves.

Over 1000 hectres of land abandoned since 1927 in Kware, have been reclaimed and added to the land prepared for irrigation.

The new project will be executed under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme- Phase I.

The project involves the construction of 175 irrigation water conveyance canals; 120 units of hydraulic structures; 55 kilometers of feeder roads; five units of primary schools, two primary health centers and two community markets among others.

Education-a priority
Governor Tambuwal’s vision is to develop the human resource capacity of the people of Sokoto to meet modern challenges.

Since assuming office, he has placed premium priority on investing in education to develop skill-sets for the future.

For the first time, the highest allocation in the state’s budget in the 2016 fiscal year was for education, having declared a state of emergency in the sector.

Infusing skill-sets
In February, Sokoto state government commenced the registration of 25,000 youths, expected to benefit from a skills acquisition scheme over a two-year period.

Plans are also at an advanced stage to unveil a special training scheme for artisans and semi-skilled professionals, to enhance output and marketing potential for their products, as part of the state’s employment and youth empowerment policy.

Sokoto state government has also signed an MoU with the Usman Danfodio University for the training of nurses and birth attendants, whose services will be deployed in all parts of the state.

“Governor Tambuwal is leading from the front to infuse much needed change to the socio-economic template of Sokoto state by instituting a development module that integrates Sokoto’s historical peculiarity and huge potential, with measures to modernize critical aspects of life in one of Nigeria’s most arid landscapes,” Imam concludes.