The federal government has spent N215 million on NG-CARES, a programme designed 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.
Specifically, the FCT Minister of State, 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.
Ms Aliyu, while disbursing the funds, explained that the figure included 3,650 beneficiaries of social transfer schemes and 1,404 beneficiaries of livelihood grants.
She added that the social transfer would run for 12 months of six cycles, adding that all the beneficiaries would receive stipends of N20,000 in bimonthly payments.
Ms Aliyu also mentioned that beneficiaries under the livelihood grants programme would receive between N50,000 to N135,000, a one-off payment, depending on the business category.
The minister said 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,” she noted.
The minister added, “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.”
Ms Aliyu further said beyond the NG-CARES initiatives, the FCT Administration in the year implemented other support programmes for territory residents.
According to her, they include the FADAMA CARES, CSDP CARES, and AEA CARES at different times and locations.
She described the event as a promise kept and a mission accomplished by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ms Aliyu recalled that at the inception of the present administration, the party released a blueprint for lifting 100 million people from poverty through comprehensive policies of Conditional Cash Transfer and Home 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 positively impacted the lives of ordinary citizens and have surprised the nay-sayers, as testimonies of the huge successes achieved in implementing these programmes abound.
Presenting an overview of the programme, the FCTA permanent secretary, Olusade Adesola, said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria led to the closure of many MSEs, loss of jobs, and stalled provision of essential services in poor communities.
“It has thereby, increased the population of Nigerians living below the poverty line. 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 for on-lending to the states and FCT,” stated Mr Adesola. “To implement a two-year emergency response programme, named the “Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES).”
Mr Adesola said that the administration had achieved significant milestones, which included the orientation of new staff, training of soft skills for beneficiaries of livelihood grants, and procurement of payment service providers.
He thanked the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, and the Minister of State, Ms Aliyu, for not resting on their oars to see to the successful implementation of the NG-CARES programme in the FCT.