State governments that signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the World Bank and the Federal Government for the N750 million performances/results-based NG-CARES COVID-19 relief program bank-rolled by the bank are still waiting for it to start its implementation.
The NG-CARES program outlines the proposed results’ operations to support the 36 states, including the FCT, of the Federal Government of Nigeria in their efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of the poor, vulnerable households and micro enterprises in the country.
Sokoto state governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal echoed the concern of the states regarding the program on Thursday when he received the World Bank team led by Mr Aderibigbe Funsho Adewale that visited him in his office.
According to him, “so far, we are ready. We believe that we have expressed our willingness. We are only waiting for you to kick start the program. Typical of World Bank programs, (this came) with a lot of conditions and technicalities; and, what we are witnessing now, in our own view, my own view, is delay on implementation on your own side.
“Take back this message from all of us concerned to Mr President, Ministers of Agriculture, Finance, Budget and Economic Planning; and, of course, the World Bank that States are eagerly waiting, because the people have been sensitized.
“They have done what they need to do and the economy is not improving. So, there is the need for your end to expedite action and see how you can begin to release these funds,” he emphasized.
He noted that the Nigeria-CARES program is a very important one considering “the negative impact of COVID-19 on business activities globally; moreso, with the vulnerable a d the SMEs. For nearly 14 months the economy was down and all of these categories of our citizens were affected.”
“So, when it was mentioned to us that the Federal Government in collaboration with the World Bank is coming to us with this program, we all heaved a sigh of relief that help is on the way to our people.
“We hit the ground running,” the governor said, explaining that the state chose all the three areas: cash transfer for the vulnerable, food security and the resuscitation of the SMEs, and met all of the criteria and conditions prescribed in the MoU.
On the request made by the World Bank for the fast track of the FADAMA projects, the governor said the state government have been doing a lot and will continue to do so. “But the main concern of the people on agricultural investments and agri-business is the problem of insecurity,” … knowledge and funding.
In his remarks, Mr Adewale, who said his team’s mission to the state was to deliberate on modalities of moving the program to the next level, stated that the program outlines a two year financial support to the states to fulfill its three key results’ areas.
He noted that “in line with the above, it is assumed that Sokoto state would have inaugurated a statewide steering committee and state care coordination unit in accordance with section 1.8, 2.1 of the legal agreement.