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Osinbajo Launches $750m COVID-19 Recovery Initiative

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has on Thursday launched the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus, to be implemented with a $750m World Bank facility.

Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement he signed on Thursday titled,  ‘World bank $750m support will complement FG’s social investment, job creation, poverty reduction programmes–Osinbajo’.

The inauguration was a prelude to the National Economic Council meeting chaired by the Vice President at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.

According to him, the NG-Cares, which would be for two years (2021-2023), will avail states with $20m, while the Federal Capital Territory would receive $15m.

“NG-Cares is a multi-sectoral programme designed to support vulnerable and poor Nigerians to provide essential emergency relief to smallholder farmers and MSMEs, especially those that were adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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 and MSME units. All of the support by Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme,” Osinbajo said.

The Vice President further explained that “the World Bank loan is in the order of $750m and this will be over two years (2021-2023); the intervention allocation to each state is $20m and $15m to the FCT; there is also $15m for the Federal Cares Support Unit.”

He noted that the states would drive the Programme, and there will be a programme for result-delivery mechanism type, in which case, performance must be shown.

He noted that “subsidy and grants to support individuals, households and MSMEs in the multi-year development plan for 2021-2024 was developed in the context of the response to the COVID-19 crisis and the ESP.

“That plan serves as a bridge to ensure successful programme implementation. The Federal Government will provide quality assurance, monitoring, capacity building and technical assistance to states and the FCT on project activities and results.

“Consequently, the Federal Government has inaugurated the Federal Cares Steering Committee, the Federal Cares Technical Committee and the Federal Cares Support Unit to provide overall policy direction, technical support to all the states and the FCT and to advise the president appropriately.”

Osinbajo, who urged stakeholders to deploy their wealth of experience and expertise to ensure successful take-off and implementation of the Programme, said he looks forward to prompt and effective implementation of the Programme both at the federal and state levels.

In attendance were State Governors, members of the Federal Executive Council, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and development partners, including the World Bank Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri, who made a presentation on State Eligibility for the Programme.

Source: Punch

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