By Khalid Idris Doya
The The minister of state for budget and national planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, has said that the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) programme has recorded tangible results and positively affected so many poor and vulnerable Nigerians affected by COVID-19 pandemic and other shocks across the country.
Prince Clem Ikanade notes with concern that COVID-19 pandemic had devastating consequences on the livelihood of the poor and vulnerable individuals, formal and informal businesses, especially macro and small businesses, and peasant farmers who rely on daily subsistence income.
Prince Clem Agba was speaking at a Ministerial Town Hall Stakeholders meeting under the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) programme for six states held in Command Guest, Bauchi yesterday, recalled that the federal government accessed World Bank concessional loan in the sum of $750m on behalf of the 36 states and FCT to stimulate the local economy and increased households consumption among the poor and vulnerable segment of the society.
Represented by Pastor Aso Vakporaye, chairman Federal Cares Technical Committee on NG-CARES programme, explained that the ESP laid down policy measures to mobilize funds and other resources to maintain macro economic stability, stimulate oil and non-oil government revenues and reduce non-essential spending.
He explained that it was in order to mitigate the adverse impact of the pandemic and lay a solid foundation for a robust economic recovery that the federal government enunciated several policy measures under the economic sustainability plan (ESP).
Agba also said that the (NG-CARES) programme is geared to promote open and transparent governance where citizens’ participatory engagement is further strengthened within the framework of the Buhari administration’s social accountability.
Earlier speaking, the chairman, Federal Cares Technical Committee on Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme, Mr. Aso Vakporaye, has said that the meeting is to interact with stakeholders of the programme and obtain document information on achievements and challenges from direct beneficiaries and implementation entities.
Represented by Atiku Abubakar Musa head of monitoring and evaluation CARES support unit, said that the federal government in proactive posture developed the economic plan which inspired the preparation and eventual implementation of the NG-CARES programme in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.
He acknowledged the funding support of the World Bank and the team that supported the initiative, particularly the federal government in ensuring that the programme is not a mirage, but now a reality.
“This gathering would not have been possible if not for the support from the State Governors that released funds to support the programme implementation and the State CARES Coordinators and the delivery Platforms that ensured the resources were channeled appropriately to achieve the results that we are celebrating and reviewing today”.
Valporaye explained that NG-CARES under the overarching framework of social protection agenda of the Buhari administration is caring for the poor, and vulnerable Nigerians and very soon with improved commitment, the ability of Nigerian government’s especially at the sub-national levels to cope with the crisis, will sufficiently be enhanced.
Bauchi state governor, Bala Mohammed has in a message to the occasion, expressed delight that the programme played a vital role in economic recovery of the state.
Governor Bala Mohammed attributed the emergence of Bauchi as 2nd in implementation performance to the outstanding performance of the state’s implementation team.
Represented by the State Head of Civil Service, Alhaji Yahuza Adamu Haruna, the governor described (NG-CARES) programme as critical towards tackling poverty among the beneficiaries for better living.
He said his administration has given all the necessary support and counterpart commitment to ensure effective implementation of the (NG-CARES) programme so as to assist the state government in tackling the effect of economic crisis in the lives of poor citizens.
“We are happy that we have achieved a lot in Bauchi in the implementation (NG-CARES) programme. This programme to us is a welcome development as it will go a long way in taking our people out of poverty.”
Governor Bala Mohammed therefore reiterated the readiness of his administration towards seeking partnership and collaboration with development partners to enable the state to access more interventions for the benefit of the state and its citizens.