Abuja, Nov. 2, 2023: The World Bank says Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) programme is doing well in addressing poverty in the country.
Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa, World Bank Task Team Leader for NG-CARES, stated this in an interview with newsmen on the sidelines of Mid-Term Review Mission meeting held on Wednesday in Abuja.
Okunmadewa said that the bank had so far disbursed over 300 million dollars, assuring that all the remaining resources would be released within the next eight months.
” We are quite happy about what has happened to the programme. It is still very active in all the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
” And they are all very eager to get even into the next phase of the programme because caring for the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria is still the thing that government is concern about
” Each state of the federation have been encourage to put together a set of interventions into one programme that totally cares for the poor and vulnerable.”
The don recalled that the programme became preeminent immediately after the COVID-19 crisis, where both the livelihood and the lives of people were threatened.
” And so government was responsive enough at the federal and state levels to put this programme together and the world bank gladly agreed to support it.
” Now two and half years after it was being put in place we have felt is good to take a look at how fair is the programme going.
” And particularly how well is the world bank assistance, wether it is relevant or not and wether it is achieving the desire results.
” Of course I will like to say that it is doing well now but after a very difficult start. It had a challenging start, had a slow start but now it has pick up and it is even almost exceeding the expectations
” To the extent that there is clearly a desire to continue the programme at the government level and also the world bank to also support the next face of it.”
Earlier, the National Coordinators of NG-CARES, Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, said that the programme had so far impacted into the lives of over three million Nigerians.
Obaje said the 36 states and the FCT have contributed between N88 billion to N90 billion since the inception of the programme.
He explained that the instrument of operation and strategy put into the designed of the programme emphasised on community participation.
He also said that the emphasised of the programme had moved from COVID-19 to deploying the resources of the community to address their peculiar needs.
” The programme is doing very well now and there is increase phase of disbursement and the programme is also becoming more popular among the poor and vulnerable the nation.
” And then top government functionaries at the federal are also beginning to ask questions to become interested in what the NG-CARES is doing.
” This is a positive development, it is a programme that relatively young as a programme but it has inherited other programme that have been existing for quite sometime.”
Also, Mr Sonny Ekedayen, the Commissioner of Ministry of Economic Planning, Delta state, said ” NG-CARES is one programme whose relevance we are just discovering that is even more today than it was when it started.
” I am very proud to say that my state delta is very active in the programme and one of those forerunners who signed on to this programme newly when it came in.
” And we have domesticated it in our state for which we have not only gotten commendation from the world bank but also from the National Coordinating body.
” Even our citizens too are now looking at it as a veritable means of state intervention.”