World Bank, Delta to spend N3.5b on NG-CARES Programme
Delta State government has commended the World Bank and Federal Government for their support in the implementation of the Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme (NG-CARES) in the state.
Secretary to the State government (SSG), Mr. Patrick Ukah, made the commendation yesterday when he received the World Bank Team in Nigeria and the State Committee on NG-CARES led by the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr. Barry Gbe, on courtesy visit, in Asaba.
The NG-CARES is particularly focused on the vulnerable and the poor in rural communities with a mission to cushion their plights in the areas of health, education, nutrition and other financial needs.
Okah revealed that the state had continued to benefit from the robust partnership and support of the World Bank, particularly in the areas of public financial reforms and social intervention programmes.
He said the state was very much appreciative of the World Bank and the Federal Government supports so far, saying the programme could not have come at a better time to provide the much-needed support to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the world.
Ukah revealed that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was thrilled by the implementation of the CARES Programme in the state, hence he approved the sum of N2.499 billion to fund the activities in March this year under the ‘Result Area 1 and 2’ of the programme in addition to the World Bank advance of N1.1 billion.
He said: “To underscore government’s commitment to the CARES programmes in the state, the sum of N998 million was approved for the implementation of the Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) (Result Area 3) component of the programme, out of which a substantial amount was released to the Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency.
“This culminated in the flag-off of the disbursement of the grants to 1,818 MSEs by Governor Okowa in September 2021.
“The World Bank advance was immediately released to the Programme’s Delivery Platforms, and they have made remarkable progress towards achieving expected milestones.
“And to show further commitment to the success of the programme, Okowa, during the flag off of the Result Area 1&2 of the programme in August 2022, expressly directed that the outstanding sums for the programme be released to the Delivery Platforms for the CARES programme implementation.”
Earlier, the World Bank team led by a Specialist of NG-CARES, World Bank Country Office, Abuja, Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa, said the implementation of the programme was the Federal Government initiative with support from the World Bank to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the poor in the country.
Okunmadewa, who placed Delta State in “First Class Cabinet of the Delivery Platforms”, stated that the programme was designed in such a way that the state would spend their own money in the first batch before being refunded after proper verification and validation.
“This is what we call prior results. When the independent verification agents go there, they will count the results that they have achieved along with the ones that they are going to achieve. It is a collaboration between the World Bank, the Federal Government and the 36 state governments,” he said.