By Asmau Ahmad
The World Bank said the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES), is on the right track in supporting the poor and vulnerable groups in the country.
Professor Foluso Okunmadewa, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the programme, stated this on Monday in Abuja, at a Ministerial Town Hall Meeting on NG-CARES Programme with Stakeholders, States and the FCT officials as well as beneficiaries to obtain and document information on achievements and challenges from direct beneficiaries.
He said the the bank was very proud to be a partner of the Federal and State Governments on the NG-CARES initiative.
He stated that so far there had been substantial results and evidence that this approach, this effort is actually on the right track despite some of the challenges.
“We are actually very proud and of course excited to be part of this Ministerial Town Hall. We are quite happy when the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, indicated that it is not only good to claim that there are results.
“Even though it was done by an Independent Verification Firm, it is also important to hear from the beneficiaries and particularly to do so in the presence of those who are in charge of delivering the results.
“I thought and I believe and that is also what we understand in the bank that it is the correct meaning of eye marking because when you do it in the presence of everyone then there is no dispute.
“And particularly if you bring the media in, then everybody will be able to confirm that this is reality of what has happened.”
Prof. Okunmadewa revealed that the World Bank was prepared to do an extension of the closing date which would be concluded in the next one week.
This, according to him, will allow the states to repurpose their resources apart from the ones that they have earned in the direction of other shops as well.
“It was not only COVID-19, we now have some other shops and fortunately the programme is designed in such a way that it can always help the state to respond to any vulnerability such as the one that happened recently on the flooding which affected a substantial number of states.”
Earlier, the National Coordinator of NG-CARES, Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, said the NG-CARES programme was a multi-sectoral programme intervention designed to bring immediate relief to the poor and vulnerable Nigerians that have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Obaje explained that the programme was a 750 million dollars facility from the world bank that should be implemented ordinarily for two years.
According to him, the programme covers two results areas and that is why it is multi-sectoral call social protection, food security and support for micro and small-scale enterprise.
Obaje said that it was on record that the World Bank directors approved the NG-CARES programme on Dec. 14, 2020 and the Federal Executive Council approved the loan request on April 14, 2021.
“And just within a spate of one week thereafter the National Assembly approved it on April 21, 2021. This emphasised the urgency for this intervention at that critical time.”
The national coordinator commended the minister for his unwavering support towards the success of the programme.
Also, the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, assured that the views and contributions of stakeholders and beneficiaries would be invaluable in government efforts to build a socially inclusive nation.
The NG-CARES Programme is a Federal Government initiative, supported by the World Bank and implemented in all 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The Programme aims to expand access to livelihood support and food security services and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms.