By Demola Akinyemi
Determined to put an end to extreme poverty among the people, Kwara State Government has commenced disbursement of interest-free loan, tagged ‘Owo Isowo’, to petty traders under its social investment programme.
The initiative, a component of the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) also includes safety nets for the aged and vulnerable.
According to the anchor of the programme, Mohammed Brimah, “Owo Isowo is an interest-free loan of a minimum of N10,000 and beneficiaries which cut across the 16 local government areas of the state, are to pay back over six months in bits in a way that is convenient for them. It is to support our petty traders in upscaling their businesses”.
The state government also launched a Health Insurance Scheme to boost life expectancy and promote good health of the residents of Kwara State.
While flagging off the programme in Ilorin recently Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq declared that the insurance scheme would boost life expectancy and help the economy.
He said at least 10,000 indigents who have been freely paid for by the government were covered in the first phase of the insurance that is 100 percent free for the vulnerable while the government will also get on board premium-paying persons in the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
AbdulRazaq said the launch was another major step in his administration’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and called on residents to take full advantage of the scheme.
“A major agenda of this administration is to ensure that Kwara State ticks all the right boxes and achieves the SDGs by 2030. This is beyond empty slogans. Yesterday, we began the disbursement of ‘Owo Isowo’ to 21,623 petty traders under our social investment programme. The KWASSIP, which also includes safety nets for the aged and vulnerable, seeks to end extreme poverty in our state,” he said.
According to the governor,”the launching today of this health insurance scheme is a direct response of the administration to the goal 3 of the SGDs which is access to good health and well-being. We are starting this scheme by onboarding at least 10,000 indigents as a test run. These indigents have had their premium fully paid. This means the health insurance is 100% free for the indigents. We hope to enrol many more indigents in the coming years.
“I commend our partners for their support and the leadership and staff of the health sector in Kwara State for their hard work. I specifically commend the leadership of the Kwara State Health Insurance Agency for seeing this through. We are also proud as an administration to have made the necessary investments in that regard.
“Health insurance scheme boosts life expectancy of our people, promotes good health, and ultimately strengthens the economy. It has the potential to prevent families from sudden fall into poverty as a result of unforeseen health crisis.
The insurance scheme takes care of basic health issues before they become complicated. Studies have shown that most of the health issues found in secondary and tertiary health institutions arose majorly because they were not tackled on time.
“I therefore urge people in the formal and informal sectors — who are to pay a token as their own premium —to enrol in the scheme. It is cheap, affordable, accessible, and is supported by carefully selected functional facilities and committed medical experts in the state.”me feedback from them. Also, there’s awareness going on radio, digital marketing, down to local government, shops, even to the Obas , some even volunteered to register and it is still ongoing too.
“At the end of it all, the objective is to provide accessible health care to all residents in Kwara state. Obviously, we know we cannot start with the whole 3.4 million people but we can start with reasonable number of people to register into the scheme. The goal is for all to have quality health care services”.