Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has said the $750m loan from the World Bank will create jobs, complement the Federal Government’s social investment and reduce poverty in the country.
He said this is part of President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s plan to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years.
The Vice President disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at the national launch of the NG-CARES programme implementation with the World Bank’s $750 million loan. NG-CARES- is a multi-sectoral programme, which in addition to the ongoing implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), is a furtherance of the Federal Government’s response to the socio-economic fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Assuring stakeholders that the programme will build on diverse and extensive interventions by the Federal Government, Prof. Osinbajo stated that the “NG-CARES programme is designed to support vulnerable and poor Nigerians, provide immediate emergency relief to smallholder farmers and SMEs that were adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He also disclosed that the World Bank loan “will be over a period of 2 years (2021-2023), and the intervention allocation to each State is $20 million ex-ante and $15 million to FCT, and $15 million for the NG CARES Support Unit. The programme is to be driven by States using the Programme for Results-PforR-delivery mechanism.”
According to him, the programme will further complement the Federal Government’s plan to scale up the number of beneficiaries of its social schemes, subsidy and grants to support individuals, households and MSMEs in the multi-year Development Plan for 2021 – 2024. He added that the plan “was developed within the context of our response to the COVID-19 crisis and the Economic Sustainability Plan serving as the bridge.”
Explaining further, Prof. Osinbajo said “in order to ensure successful programme implementation, the Federal Government will provide quality assurance, monitoring, capacity building and technical assistance to States and FCT on project activities and results.
“Consequently, the Federal Government has inaugurated the Federal CARES Steering Committee (FCSC), the Federal CARES Technical Committee (FCTC) and the Federal CARES Support Unit (FCSU) to provide overall policy direction, technical support to all the States and FCT and advise Mr President appropriately.”
He added that he looked forward to the “prompt and effective implementation of the programme, both at the Federal and States levels,” even as he urged implementing agencies to “fully deploy their wealth of experience and expertise to ensure the successful take-off and implementation of the NG-CARES programme.”
The national launch of the NG-CARES was held ahead of the first National Economic Council meeting and was attended by 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 Mr Shubham Chaudhuri who made a presentation on State Eligibility for the Programme.
The World Bank-supported COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus, also known as NG-CARES, will leverage existing job creation, wealth creation and poverty reduction programmes at the community level. These include programmes such as State Cash Transfer Units, Agriculture Development Agencies, Job Creation Unit/MSE Support Units supported by the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) of the Administration.