Paucity of funds slowing implementation of NG-CARES
State governments’ inability to raise funds for the $750m World Bank-backed Nigerian COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) programme is slowing down the implementation of the programme.
NG-CARES is an intervention programme of the Federal Government to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the poor and vulnerable.
The programme launched with the $750m loan began in 2021 and is expected to end in 2023. Each State is to receive $20m while the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the Federal CARES Support Unit (FCSU) will receive $15m each.
The implementation is at the state level and the disbursement of funds is based on results achieved by each state.
Barely eight months to the end of the programme, and weeks to the first visit by independent verification agents (IVAs) to ascertain the level of implementation by the states, the World Bank Task Team Leader for NG-CARES, Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa has raised the alarm that lack of funds could slow down the implementation of the programme.
Okunmadewa who was speaking in an interview with The Guardian on the sidelines of a pre-IVA assessment meeting with some of the states in Abuja, said: “The recurring challenge as reported by all the states we have visited is lack of funding. I say so even though I do understand, and we all know that even the states themselves are facing funding constraints.”
Many states are not able to fully fund the interventions upfront and that is what may have limited some of the results.”
He said: “We did advance some money to each of the states out of their allocation to help them, but that didn’t do much, that was not a significant amount because we were hoping we would have a lot of money to put up upfront and implement but that didn’t happen.”
Also speaking, the National Coordinator of NG-CARES, Dr. Abdulkarim Obaje, said the meeting was to check the result, which states claim to have achieved over the past one and a half years and to see those that need strengthening in terms of packaging of their documentation and those that will require additional funding from their state governments.