By Muhammad Nasir
The Federal Government has restated its commitment to restore the livelihood of poor, vulnerable Nigerians and maintain food security in the country.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, gave the assurance at the maiden Ministerial Town-Hall meeting on the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) held in Sokoto, on Monday.
Represented by Mr Aso Vakporaye, the Chairman, Federal Cares Technical Committee of NG-CARES, Agba also reiterated the commitment of the government to facilitate the recovery of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
He assured that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration would continue to deliver development to Nigerians even if it has only a few weeks to hand over to a new administration.
The minister explained that NG-CARES programme was one of the policy options explored by the Buhari administration to achieve the objectives of restoring the livelihood of the poor and vulnerable.
According to him, in about a year of full implementation, NG-CARES has impacted over two million direct beneficiaries.
“This is based on the report of the first round of assessment of the NG-CARES programme implementation conducted by an Independent Verification Agent.”
The minister said that one of President Buhari’s strategies was to intermittently meet with, and engage stakeholders, as part of government’s accountability to the citizens.
“The purpose basically is to hear, first-hand, views of our people on government policies and programme and to feel the pulse of the nation.
“This interaction is even more imperative, given the fact that NG-CARES programme draws some of its beneficiaries from the National Social Register.
“It is important to find out from you how effective this approach is as we seek the consolidation of the National Social Register as a major source of credible data for social protection intervention in the country.”
Earlier, the Chairman, Federal Cares Technical Committee of NG-CARES, Mr Aso Vakporaye, commended the governors of Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states for releasing funds to support the implementation of NG-CARES.
Represented by Alhaji Mustapha Alkali, member, Federal Cares Technical Committee, Vakporaye, also appreciated the funding support of the World Bank and the task team that has tenaciously Supported the initiative.
“We are proud to say that the programme has recorded tangible results and has positively affected so many poor and vulnerable Nigerians affected by the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Also, the National Coordinator of NG-CARES, Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, explained that NG-CARES was a multi-sectoral programme designed to provide immediate emergency relief to poor and vulnerable Nigerians.
Obaje disclosed that Zamfara was ranked first on the basis of earning of N5.2 billion with 70,835 beneficiaries.
“Sokoto State earned N1.516 billion with 10,864 beneficiaries and Kebbi state earned N2.97 billion with 29,594 beneficiaries.”
He assured that the Federal Team would continue to provide technical support to states and the Federal Capital Territory for seamless implementation of NG-CARES programme.
Bashir Ilelah, one of the beneficiaries, said NG-CARES has really impacted positively in boosting his business.
He, however, is seeking the review of the process of assessing the fund.
Also, Zafiya Abubakar from Shagari Local Government of Sokoto State, who was supported with Grinding Machine, said the machine expanded her business and improved her revenue profile which enable her take care of her orphans.
Similarly, Rabi’atu Bungudu, from Zamfara State, said the programme supported her with a Petro-Power Tomatoes Processing Machine, which immensely transformed her life.
And Mrs Habiba Aliyu, a tailor from Aliero Local Government, Kebbi state, who got N100,000 support, said she procured an electronic sewing machine and eventually increased her production.
“Before I used to sow five sets of clothes but now I can sow more than 15 set of clothes within a short period of time.” (NAN)