By Esther Adesulu
The Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus project (NG-CARES) a multi-sectorial programme designed to support vulnerable and poor Nigerians, has been launched in Nigeria.
The aim of the programme is to provide emergency relief to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, small holder farmers, especially those that were severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The World Bank is providing a $750million facility for the project.
Launching the programme in Abuja, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said that the World Bank’s $750million loan would be over a period of two years (2021-2023).
He added that the intervention allocation to each state is $20million; and $15million to the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. There is also $15million dollars for the Federal Cares Support Unit.
“The programme will build on the varied and extensive federal government interventions developed as part of the president’s plan for taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty and in response to the severe socio-economic fallouts of the pandemic, especially those programmes and plans contained in the Economic Sustainability Plan.
“The essential addition to the federal government’s programme is that the NG-CARES programme will leverage on existing programmes in the states, especially job creation programmes, wealth creation, poverty reduction programmes at the community level such as state cash transfer units state Fadama or agriculture development agencies, state job creation units, MSME units,” he said.
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum who spoke on behalf of governors, pointed out that the socio-economic challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated a response like the NG-CARES.
“This is a fallout of the pandemic that we have had to grapple with over the past 18 months or more and as a way of dealing with the deleterious impact of the pandemic on vulnerable segments of our population, we came up jointly with the World Bank team and the Federal Government’s team.
“This response mechanism is compliment to the Economic Sustainability Programme that the Federal Government also embarked upon working with the states,” he said.
Fayemi expressed gratitude to the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning and the World Bank for the effort has gone into the preparation of the NG-CARES.