Imo State government has concluded plans to launch a tripod programme designed to provide free education at all levels, free health-care for Imolites and ensure that no strike action takes place again in the state.
Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha who spoke in government house, Owerri, disclosed that the programme will symbolize a renewed commitment by stakeholders in both education and health sectors to drive the vision of his administration towards repositioning some critical sectors for efficiency and optimal productivity after government approval to pay salary structure and other outstanding entitlements.
He stated that though he declared free and compulsory education in primary and secondary schools shortly on assumption of office, he also considered it necessary to extend the gesture to undergraduates of the state origin schooling in the state government owned university and polytechnic.
The governor explained that students in Imo State University will receive an annual bursary of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100, 000) while their counterparts in Imo State Polytechnic will be entitled to Sixty Thousand Naira (N60, 000) for National Diploma (ND) and Eighty Thousand Naira (N80,000) for Higher National Diploma (HND).
Gov. Okorocha added that traditional rulers who also superintend the fourth-tier government otherwise known as Community Government Council in the state will assume the responsibility of screening and thereafter submit lists of beneficiaries in their various communities for payment to checkmate sharp practices.
He further explained that the sum of Thirty Thousand Naira (N30, 000) from the amount will be given as loan from the state government while the accumulated sum will be paid back to the communities by the beneficiaries as soon as they secure employment.
“This policy under Imo Rescue Mission is intended to guarantee the sustainability of free education at all levels. Don’t forget that some people said free education even to secondary level was impossible, but today we have free education in Imo state which has been extended to tertiary level. We will continue to accord priority to education considering the fact that education remains the biggest industry in our state” Gov. Okorocha said.
Gov. Okorocha also stated that the second-leg of the programme is designed to guarantee a sustainable free health-care for Imolites under a social security scheme that will enable beneficiaries’ access free health-care in both private and government-owned hospitals with the state government contributing substantially to the scheme.
“Under this unique arrangement, the state government will introduce a decentralized frame-work that will transfer management of government owned hospitals to specialists/doctors and provide all the necessary frame-work that will guarantee self-sustainability in the health sector. This will ultimately address the challenges that have eroded efficiency in the health system in Imo state”.
He expressed the innovation represents a practical demonstration of his administration’s commitment to restructure government owned health institutions and further reposition them for efficiency and maximum productivity in health-care delivery which will translate to the actualization of the health-for-all policy of Imo Rescue Mission Agenda.
Gov. Okorocha also explained that the agreement with the representative of the workers is aimed at bringing to an end strike action in government institutions, guarantee an equal commitment in the implementation of the programme and ensure stability in the system.
He however enjoined workers and the good people of the state to show maximum cooperation to his administration in the process of transforming the state through theses well-thought policies and programmes that will uplift Imo and place it far above other states in the country in the areas development and good governance.