Professor Foluso Okunmadewa, World Bank Task Team Leader for Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES), has expressed his happiness at the level of implementation of the Stimulus in most states.
Okunmadewa disclosed the bank's position in an interview with the Nigerian News Agency on Friday in Abuja, on the sidelines of a meeting with selected states, in preparation for the first outcome assessment under the NG-CARES program.
He said that “most of the state has gotten results. We are very happy about that. Only a few states that were a bit slow to shell out resources for their delivery platforms may not have seen substantial results, based on our own monitoring at this time.
“So for us, that's good. Usually for a program like this, you get that kind of response early on, but immediately after the first evaluation and the results are made public and known to everyone, all the other states that are a little slow or lagging will pick up.
"We've seen it on every other show before."
The team leader explained that NG-CARES is an emergency operation aimed at supporting poor and vulnerable people in terms of responding to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also said that the states are expected to produce some results that will receive reimbursement after the evaluation of the project.
“So the first evaluation will take place in the next few weeks and what we are doing as partners of the states and the federal government is to train them and see what results they have, how robust the results are and how it should be presented.
“This is due to the fact that the people who are going to do the evaluation and verify the results are International Independent Verification Agents, who have committed to going through the states of the federation in a very short time.
“Agents must collect the results obtained on the basis of which the refunds will be made. We have about nine states in the last batch.”
In addition, Dr. Abdulkarim Obaje, National Coordinator of the CARES Federal Support Unit, NG-CARES program assisted by the World Bank, said that everything was underway for the first visit of the Independent Verification Agent to the states and the FCT.
He said that “what the World Bank and the Federal Government are doing now is to verify the reports, the results that the states claim to have achieved in the last year and a half.
“This will allow us to see those that need to get stronger in terms of packaging their documentation and those that require additional funding from their state governments because there is a protocol that everyone must adhere to.”
For her part, the Adamawa coordinator of NG-CARES, Aishatu Bello, said that the World Bank and the Federal Support Team have been technically assisting the state to achieve the objectives of the program.
He expressed his optimism that the meeting would help states achieve more results so that they get reimbursement from the World Bank to implement more programs.
The Nigerian News Agency , reports that the development objective of the NG-CARES program is to expand access to food security and livelihood support services, as well as grants for poor and vulnerable households.
Edited / Hadith Mohammed-Aliyu
Source Credit: NAN
Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa, the World Bank Task Team Leader for Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES), has expressed happiness over the level of implementation of the Stimulus in most states.
Okunmadewa made the bank’s position known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Abuja, on the sidelines of a meeting with selected states, in preparation for the first assessment of results under the NG-CARES programme.
He said “most of the state have gotten results.
We are quite happy about it.
It is only a few states that were a bit late in disbursing resources to their delivery platforms that may not have gotten results that are substantial, based on our own check as at this point in time.
“So, to us, that is good.
Usually for a programme like this, it gets that kind of response at the beginning but immediately after the first assessment and the results are made public and known to everyone, all the other states that are a bit slow or lagging behind will pickup.
“We have seen that in every other programmes before.
” The team leader explained that NG-CARES is an emergency operation meant to support the poor and vulnerable people in terms of responding to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also said that states are expected to produce some results which they would get reimbursement after the assessment of the project.
“So, the first assessment is going to happen in the next couple of weeks and so what we are doing as partner to the states and the federal government is to coach them and to see what results they have, how robust are the results and how it should be presented.
“This is because the people who are going to do the assessment and verify the results are International Independent Verification Agents who have been engaged to go round the states of the federation in a very short time.
“The agents are to collect results achieved on the basis of which reimbursements will be made.
We have about nine states on the last batch.
” Also, Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, the National Coordinator of the Federal CARES Support Unit, World Bank-assisted NG-CARES programme, said everything was on top gear for the first visit of the Independent Verification Agent to the states and the FCT.
He said “what the World Bank and Federal Government are doing now is to check the reports, the results that the states claimed they have achieved over the past one and half years.
“This will enable us to see those that need strengthening in terms of packaging their documentation and those that require additional funding from their state governments because there is a protocol that everybody must adhere to.
” On her part, the Adamawa Coordinator of NG-CARES, Aishatu Bello, said the World Bank and the Federal Support Team have been assisting the state technically to achieve the objectives of the programme.
She expressed optimism that the meeting would help states to achieve more results so that they would get reimbursement from the World Bank to implement more programmes.
The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, has disbursed N215 million to 5,054 beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in the nation’s capital.
Aliyu, while disbursing the funds, explained that the figure was made up of 3,650 beneficiaries of Social Transfer scheme, and 1,404 beneficiaries of Livelihoods grant.
She said that the social transfer would run for 12 months of six cycles, adding that all the beneficiaries would be receiving stipends of N20, 000.00 bimonthly payments.
Aliyu also said that beneficiaries under the livelihood Grants programme would receive between N50, 000.00 to N135, 000.00, one-off payment, depending on the business category.
The minister said that the programme was part of the Economic Sustainability Plan of the present administration.
“The programme is anchored under the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) scheme.
It is designed to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants to poor and vulnerable households and firms.
“It also seeks to promote recovery of Medium Scales Enterprises (MSEs) in the country and revive the economy, especially in the rural areas, where more than 70 per cent of our population dwells.
’’ Aliyu further said that beyond the NG-CARES initiatives, the FCT Administration in the course of the year implemented other support programmes to residents of the territory.
According to her, they include the FADAMA CARES, CSDP CARES and the AEA CARES at different times and locations.
She described the event as a promise kept and mission accomplished by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Aliyu recalled that at the inception of the present administration, the party released a blue-print for lifting 100 million people from poverty through comprehensive policies of Conditional Cash Transfer, and Home Grown School Feeding.
She listed the other programmes as the N-Power schemes, Government Economic and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), Trader Moni, Market Moni and a host of others.
According to her, the programmes have impacted positively on the lives of the ordinary citizens and have surprised the nay-sayers, as testimonies of the huge successes achieved in the implementation of these programmes abound.
Presenting an overview of the programme, the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola, said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria led to the closure of many MSEs, loss of jobs, stalled provision of basic services in poor communities.
“It has thereby, increased the population of Nigerians living below the poverty line.
“The programmes are in response to the hardship perpetuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is also in line with the vision of the Federal Government to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years.
“The government of Nigeria, on behalf of the 36 states and the FCT, sought and obtained assistance from the World Bank to the tune of 750 million dollars for on-lending to the states and FCT.
“To implement a two-year emergency response programme, named the “Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES).
’’ He said that the NG-CARES programme seeks to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the livelihoods of poor individuals, farmers, vulnerable households, communities and owners of Micro and Small Enterprises.
He said that in the FCT, the programme has been domesticated and code named FCT-CARES.
Adesola said that the administration had achieved major milestones which include orientation of new staff, training of soft skills for beneficiaries of livelihoods grant, and procurement of payment service provider.
Others he said were enrolment training for Cash Transfer Facilitators (CTFs), Data Capturing of beneficiaries, and training of beneficiaries on Livelihood activities.
He thanked the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, and the Minister of State, Aliyu for not resting on their oars in order to see to the successful implementation of the NG-CARES programme in the FCT.
The permanent secretary also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for sustaining implementation of the Social Safety Net Programme for the benefit of the poor.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the highpoint of the event was the symbolic presentation of cheque to some of the beneficiaries.
Some more farmers in Ogun on Saturday received free agro-inputs under the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (OGUN-CARES FADAMA RA2) project.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the project a state and federal government initiative in collaboration with the World Bank is directed to assist farmers in six local government areas of Ogun. The local government areas include; Ijebu North and Odogbolu (Ogun East), Odeda and Obafemi Owode, (Ogun Central), as well as Yewa North and Ado-, (Ogun West).
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, said this when presenting the incentives to beneficiaries in Yewa-North Local Government Secretariat, in Aiyetoro.
Odedina, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Dotun Sorunke, reiterated the importance of the OGUN CARES progamme in fulfillmentof one of the cardinal points of the present administration in ensuring food security.
The commissioner said the distribution exercise had started in Ado- and Ijebu-North Local Government Secretariats in Ota and Ijebu-Igbo respectively.
He disclosed that the beneficiaries were given three weaners (pigs), three sheep and goats, two bags of 50kg fertilisers and herbicides and garri processing equipment, rice processing equipment, among others.
“Today, our farmers have seen that this project is real.
It is aimed at supporting a little below 21,000 farmers across the State.
“Many farmers lost their means of livelihood to COVID-19, but with adequate utilisation of these inputs, within six months to one year, your farming businesses will bounce back because the agro-inputs will surely boost your farming and these animals will reproduce massively”, he said.
In her welcome address, the Project Manager, OGUN-CARES FADAMA RA2, Mrs Solape Awe, applauded the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun for supporting the Federal Government and the World Bank in the implementation of the project, Awe said the aim of project was to empower pro-poor and vulnerable farmers as well as those in agricultural value-chain with emphasis on youths and women who were adversely affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
She noted that “OGUN CARES is a multi-sectorial programme and the agricultural aspect is being implemented by FADAMA platform, in four Delivery Link Indicators (DLIs), which are, Agricultural Inputs and Services, Labour-Intensive Agricultural Infrastructure Others are agricultural assets for production and mitigating food loss and waste, as well as upgrading of wet markets to function safely to empower 20,922 farmers in all the local government areas of the state within two years.
In his remark, the Chairman, Ado- Local Government,Mr Sheriff Musa, lauded the effort of government for kick-starting the input distribution in the area to alleviate the plight of farmers.
According to him, Ota is in a vantage position over others, based on its large urban and agrarian population, large arable land for agriculture, as well as being the industrial hub of the state.
Also, Mr Gabriel Ogunyomi, Chairman, Yewa North Local Government, lauded the consideration for women and youths in the project.
He charged the farmers to make the best use of the inputs and assets to better their lives and improve the economy of the state.
Mr Titus Lasilo from Ado- Ota Farmers Community Association and Mrs Monsurat Omoniyi from Agbejere Farmers’ Association, Joga Orile, two of the beneficiaries, expressed happiness at the initiative.
The beneficiaries said that inputs and assets would turn their lots around, and promised to utilise the inputs judiciously
No fewer than 3,010 farmers in Katsina State have so far benefitted from various interventions under the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economy Stimulus, NG-CARES programme.
The Coordinator of the FADAMA CARES Component of the programme, Alhaji Mas’ud Banye disclosed this on Friday in Katsina after inspecting some farms under the programme to assess the level of implementation.
Banye said the support, provided by the World Bank as loan through the Federal Government, and distributed free to the farmers by the Katsina Government, was targeting 22,000 farmers in the state.
According to him, the programme provides assistance to poor and vulnerable persons to enable them to recover from the losses incurred from the COVID-19 pandemic.
He explained that the programme had provided assistance to 1,650 maize and sorghum farmers and given various farming inputs to 1,350 poor and vulnerable farmers in the state.
“Each maize farmer was given 10 kilogrammes of maize seedlings, three bags of NPK and one bag of Urea Fertilizers as well as herbicides and pesticides.
“Similarly, each sorghum farmer was given 10 kilogrammes bag of seeds, two bags of NPK, a bag of urea and a gallon of liquid fertilizers.
“The farmers were also exposed to intensive capacity building while extension agents were dispatched to their various farms to guide them.
“The farming implements given to the 1,350 farmers include thrashers, knapsack sprayers, food packaging machines and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to prevent them from coming into contact with harmful chemicals.
” He added that women and physically challenged persons constituted 40 per cent of the beneficiaries in all the interventions under the Area II component of the NG-CARES programme being coordinated by the FADAMA Office.
According to Banye, the programme will run for a period of two years, divided into four cycles of six months each.
“Poor and vulnerable farmers will be selected in each cycle and we always go to the grassroot communities to select real farmers that will make the maximum use of the interventions,” he said.
The Chairman, Bindawa Local Government Area, Alhaji Badaru Musa, said dozens of farmers in the area already benefited from the programme which had enhanced their farming practices.
He explained that at least 500 farmers’ associations in the area have registered into various cooperatives ready to receive support from the FADAMA CARES Programme.
At Yanmagajin Yamma community in Bindawa area, the chairman of the farmers’ cooperative, Malam Bello AbdurRahman, said 100 sorghum farmers in the area benefitted from the assistance.
While commending the Katsina State Government for providing them with the free intervention, he explained that they were clustered in groups of 10 for the programme in the area.
Malam Saminu Bala, the Chairman of the farmers in Kadanye Sabonlayi, Caranci local government, said the intervention helped them to recover most of the losses they recorded due to the lockdown in 2020. In Kankia, the official in charge of the FADAMA CARES project, Hajiya Farida Badamasi, explained that 40 per cent of the beneficiaries in the area were women selected from agrarian communities affected by the lockdown.
The Coordinator’s team also inspected the fisheries component of the NG-CARES programme at the Goruba Fish Farmers office in Katsina.
No fewer than 169 individuals from vulnerable households were, on Friday, trained in Benin to benefit from the Nigeria CARES (COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) grant in Edo. Mrs Ifueko Alufohai, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Humanitarian Affairs, stated this during a one-day livelihood support training and orientation, organised by the State Cash Transfer Unit (SCTU).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the grant is codenamed EDO-CARES.
Alufohai explained that the beneficiaries would be given grants ranging from N20,000 to N200,000. The permanent secretary noted that the N-CARES was a World Bank-funded emergency relief programme, put in place to ameliorate the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on livelihoods, especially the operators of businesses in the informal sector.
The Head, State Cash Transfer Unit, Flora Bossey, in her address of welcome, said that the programme was designed for economically-active youths and women.
Bossey said: “This programme is Disbursement Linked Indicator (DLI 1.3), under the EDO-CARES livelihood support programme, one of the 11 DLI being supported by the state government.
“The programme is taking place in two pilot local government areas of Oredo and Ikpoba-Okha in the state.
“The beneficiaries were selected from the state social register for the poor and vulnerable households.
” She said that the state government had made it possible for the beneficiaries to receive grants to improve their businesses that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The training, according to her, is the first round of livelihood and soft skills, aimed at supporting their businesses before the grants would be disbursed.
Mrs Precious Osunde, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, commended the state government for the kind gesture and promised to expand her business with the grant.
The Kwara Government has began the disbursement of N160,550,000 grants to 688 Small and Micro-Scale (SMSEs) businesses under the first tranche of the KWARA NG CARES RA3 Operational Grants.
This is contained in a statement signed by Hajiya Zainab AbdulSalam, the Lead Media Officer, KWARA NG-CARES, on Wednesday in Ilorin.
AbdulSalam said that the beneficiaries comprised 45 small scale businesses that would receive N700,000 each, and 643 micro-scale businesses that would receive N200,000 each.
The spokerperson said that the beneficiaries cut across the 16 local government areas of the state.
“General Manager of KWASSIP, Mr AbdulQuawiy Olododo, stated that the programme is a World Bank-assisted emergency recovery and intervention programme, facilitated by Kwara Government to curb the impact of COVID-19 on businesses.
“Also, to provide economic relief to business men and women and improve employment rate in the state.
“He further stated that the programme, which kicked off with disbursement of operational grant, will be followed closely by the Credit Grant and IT Enhancement Grant.
“The GM added that the programme is one of the efforts of Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to improve the quality and ease of running businesses in Kwara,” AbdulSalam said.
The lead media officer said that the Acting Technical Head of NG CARES For SMSE RA3, Mrs Rukayat Yahaya, urged beneficiaries to utilise the grants in covering operational expenditures.
“Yahaya also advised the beneficiaries to keep their businesses running, as the grant was an emergency recovery fund, designed to help their businesses recover from the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
“She also stated that the operational grant will be followed by the credit grant for easing financial constraints on SMSEs and IT Enhancement Grant for upgrading their capabilities,” AbdulSalam said.
The Deputy Speaker, Kwara House of Assembly, Mr Adetiba Rafael; and the state Commissioner of Finance, Mrs Florence Oyeyemi, among other dignitaries, presented cheque to the beneficiaries.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), on Thursday disbursed the second batch of FCT Fadama Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus grants to 517 vulnerable people in the territory.
The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, performed the symbolic disbursement held in Gwagwalada Area Council, FCT.
Aliyu emphasised that the event was another significant indicator of the unflinching determination of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
Aliyu said that the programme also signified the Federal Government’s commitment towards improving livelihoods, particularly for the poor and vulnerable households in the country.
She pledged that the FCT Administration would continue to commit ample human and financial resources towards reduction of poverty and improvement of livelihoods for the poor and vulnerable agricultural households in the FCT.
‘’The specific objective of the FCT FADAMA CARES programme is to increase food security and safe functioning of food supply chain in the FCT.
“The programme is deliberately designed to support the recovery of livelihood activities of the poor and vulnerable persons engaged in agricultural value chains with special consideration to women and unemployed youth.
“Its implementation will be anchored on the World Bank community driven development approach for deployment of programme investments at the community level,” she stressed She disclosed the FCT Administration had allocated 4.5 million dollars to the FCT FADAMA CARES programme to implement three Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) the allocation of 15 million dollars made available to the FCTA by the World Bank for implementation of the programme.
Aliyu, therefore, called on all the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the grants by supporting their farming activities which would facilitate their recovery from the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
” Thus improving livelihoods and contribute to the attainment of increased food security and safe functioning of food supply chain in the FCT.
” Earlier, the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr Adesola Olusade noted that the Federal Government and the FCT Administration had invested time and resources in the FADAMA CARES programme and it had started yielding tangible results.
He said the positive results could be attested to by the excellent result achieved by the FCT during the programme eligibility assessment exercise conducted by the World Bank. He said the FCT scored 88 per cent placing it within the rank of the very best performing states in the country.
Olusade called on the FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat and other stakeholders to re-double their efforts towards ensuring the successful implementation of the programme in the FCT.
According to him, this will enable the administration to reinvigorate households and small businesses in FCT ravaged by the devastating impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, the Secretary Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Malam Abubakar Ibrahim, said the event was a significant milestone in the efforts of the FCT Administration towards supporting the attainment of food and nutritional security in the territory.
“This official disbursement of grants to second batch of beneficiaries under FCT FADAMA CARES programme further affirms the unflinching commitment of the FCT Administration towards poverty reduction.
” And improvement of livelihoods for poor and vulnerable agricultural households in the territory.
” The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the items distributed include fertilisers, seeds and agrochemicals, sprayers and personal protective equipment for crop farmers, day old chicks and feeds for poultry farmers.
Also, distributed are juveniles and feeds for fish farmers, goats for livestock farmers, grinding machines for women processors and motorised produce threshers for groups of unemployed youths.
Some beneficiaries of the input supports under the World Bank’s Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus programme (CARES), said the intervention would contribute in boosting agricultural productivity.
The farmers stated this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria during projects inspection by the CARES-project officials and the media to some local government areas.
The local governments visited to assess achievements were Rano, Madobi, Bunkure, Gezawa, Minjibir and Kura, on Monday.
The Project Coordinator, Mr Rufa’i Halilu, said that Kano-CARES-project spent about N300 million on farm inputs support component alone.
He noted that the amount was expended in providing the beneficiaries with solar-powered water pumping machines, power tillers, planters, fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, sprayers, improved seeds, among others.
Halilu explained that 980 poor farmers across the state so far benefited from the inputs assistance.
Jamila Garba, one of the beneficiaries in Rano Local Government, thanked Kano-CARES for supporting them with facilities.
“They made farming easy and possible for us this time around, because, if not because of this intervention, many of us will not plant crops due high cost of fertilizers,” she said.
Yunusa Usman, another beneficiary in Kura local area, commended the project and the state government for choosing them among beneficiaries of the support.
Usman said it would go a long way in encouraging them to increase agricultural productivity in the state.
On his part, Malam Abdullahi Umar, a beneficiary in Madobi area, thanked Kano-CARES for giving them improved seeds and other inputs to enhance agricultural productivity.
Umar said that such kinds of support were timely as farmers faced challenges of high cost of fertilizers and other farm inputs.
He urged Kano-CARES project to widen the scope of the programme, to enable more farmers to benefit from the gesture.
The beneficiaries from other local government areas also thanked the project for the intervention, which they said, had started yielding positive results of improved productivity.
“As a result of the intervention, we are now predicting bumper harvest.
We really thank the CARES-project for the support,” he said.
Similarly, Mai-Unguwa Yahuza, Village Head of Jigore in Minjibir Local Government area, praised the project for rural roads rehabilitation, which he said, assisted immensely in linking up many communities.
Yahuza further said that, it made transportation of people, goods and farm produce from one place to another easy.
The Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) programme, a Word Bank assisted-project, has bought solar-powered water pumps, worth N33 million, for distribution to farmers in Kano State.
The project’s Technical Officer, Mr Nasidi Datti, disclosed this on Sunday in Chidari, Makoda Local Government Area while test running some of the pumps before their distribution to the beneficiaries.
Datti said that a total of 100 units of the machines would be distributed to 400 irrigation farmers in the state.
According to him, four farmers would be given one set of the machines to irrigate their crops.
The technical officer said that type of pump has many advantages over the normal one.
“This one doesn’t require fuel, it only needs sunlight to operate and it is environment friendly as it doesn’t pollute the farm and aquatic lives,” he said.
Datti said that the machine had the capacity to pump at least 24,000 litres of water in one hour.
He said that the machines would be distributed to the beneficiaries for free, to encourage them to boost agricultural productivity.
CARES-Project aims to enhance food security by providing grants to poor and vulnerable households.