No fewer than 10,000 Kogi State government civil servants are expected to benefit from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) approved N10 billion Agribusiness Alternative Retirement Investment Scheme (AARIS) scheduled to take off soon in the state.
The Consultant in charge of the Scheme, Mr Joseph Idoko, disclosed this while addressing newsmen on the significance of the scheme on Monday in Lokoja.
He said the CBN had already approved the fund for the scheme, stressing that the programme, an off-shoot of the CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme, was specifically an indirect cluster farming investment for the workers, with oil palm and its value chain as mandate crop.
According to him, the broad objectives of the agribusiness programme, designed under the CBN real sector support facilities, include the diversification from oil to non-oil sectors and to provide retirement investment farms for workers.
Idoko said that the scheme, fashioned under the CBN Real Sector Support Facilities, “is designed as a retirement investment scheme for government workers and workers in the organised private sector.”
He said that scheme also planned, among other objectives, to enrol the participating workers in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) under the organised private sector.
The Consultant explained that beneficiaries would cut across the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as the staff of the state Judiciary and institutions of higher learning in the state.
“Ten thousand workers are expected to participate in the scheme which has a full cover of the Leadway Insurance”, he said, adding that registration of the workers had commenced in various MDAs and would end on Tuesday, May 12.
Idoko said that land for the 10,000 hectares oil-palm estate had been provided at Amaka in Igalamela-Odolu Local Government Area with partners from Florida, USA.
“The idea is for government workers to retire into a particular business that even when they are no more in government work, something can be coming to them to be able to take care of their families.
He said that the pilot scheme being launched in Kogi was a demonstration of Governor Yahaya Bello’s commitment to providing workers with a new lease of life and also guarantee their well-being after retirement.
Idoko commended the state Head of Service, Deaconess Deborah Ogunmola, the Organised Labour under Comrade Onuh Edoka, the Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders for contributing to the smooth take-off of the scheme.
According to him, the scheme comes in the form of a loan of N1million to each participant at nine per cent interest and payable with nine years after a two-year moratorium.
The benefitting workers would begin to receive a N240,000 each as annual dividend after a four-year gestation period before the oil palm starts producing and from then, the dividends would service the loans liquidate them.
Source: Nigerian Tribune
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