In an effort to combat the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable populations, the World Bank has disbursed over $300 million of its $750 million commitment to the Nigerian COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) program. This nationwide initiative, spearheaded by the Federal Government of Nigeria, aims to support those most affected by the pandemic.
Under the NG-CARES program, each Nigerian state is set to receive $20 million, while the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the Federal CARES Support Unit (FCSU) will each be granted $15 million. The disbursement of funds is contingent on the achievements of individual states.
Professor Foluso Okunmadewa, the World Bank Task Team Leader for NG-CARES, highlighted that the remaining funds will be disbursed within the next eight months as initial challenges have been resolved. Okunmadewa stated that a review was conducted to assess the program’s effectiveness after two and a half years, with an eye on the World Bank’s continued support.
NG-CARES has experienced considerable success, with over three million beneficiaries across Nigeria. Dr. Abdulkarim Obaje, the National Coordinator for NG-CARES, attributed this success to the program’s community-driven nature. States that invested their resources into NG-CARES have reaped substantial benefits, receiving over N200 billion in reimbursement against their N90 billion contribution.
The program’s mid-term review also provides an opportunity to enhance the funding mechanism, known as “Programme for Result,” which requires states to invest initially and receive reimbursement later. NG-CARES is on the path to becoming a pivotal shock response mechanism for both the federal and state governments, addressing various disasters and economic crises.
The NG-CARES initiative has garnered praise from Delta State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Mr. Sonny Akporokiamo Ekedayen, who noted that it has lifted people out of poverty and achieved significant stability. Delta State has shown its commitment by approving an additional N539 billion for the program.
In Zamfara State, more than 80,000 beneficiaries have been reached, with a commitment of N9 billion from the state government. NG-CARES is celebrated as one of the government’s most effective intervention programs.
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