By Alex Enebeli
Enugu, May 20, 2023 The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba says that the World Bank has extended the federal government’s COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG CARES) Programme by 12 months.
Agba, represented by Rev. Aso Vakporaye, the Chairman, Federal CARES Technical Committee disclosed this at a ministerial town hall meeting on NG-Care programme for stakeholders in Enugu on Friday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was for stakeholders from Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states.
The NG-CARES is a FG initiative to expand access to livelihood support that provide food security services and grants for poor and vulnerable households to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister stated that additional advances would be given to the states after Independent Verification Agents access their performances in June.
He disclosed that the programme had impacted over 2 million direct beneficiaries of the poor and vulnerable Nigerians, adding that the handing over to the incoming administration would affect it.
Agba added that one of the President Buhari’s strategies was to intermittently meet with, and engage stakeholders as part of government accountability to the citizens.
“This town hall meeting is therefore, an opportunity for both government and the citizens to interact with a view to increasing better governance and participatory democracy,” he said.
The minister explained that the outcome of the interaction would form part of what the present government would hand over to the incoming government.
Earlier, Vakporaye in his welcome address presented by the Ministry’s Senior Procurement Specialist, Mr Abubakar Yusuf said the town hall meeting was aimed at listening and interacting directly with the beneficiaries.
According to him, the meeting will give them opportunity to share their testimonies for every Nigerian to know that the programme has started impacting the livelihoods of the vulnerable.
While thanking President Buhari’s led FG for initiating the programme, the chairman, applauded the State Governors for their support in releasing funds to support the programme implementation.
Meanwhile, the various representatives of the five states in the southeast had pledged to sustain the programme to accommodate more vulnerables.
Mrs Adaona-Kene Uyanwune, the Enugu State Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development, lauded the FG’s commitment towards the programme and prayed that it was sustained to help more vulnerable in the society.
She also pledged that the incoming government in Enugu State would sustain the programme.
Some of the beneficiaries who spoke during the programme also lauded FG and stressed that NG-CARES had helped them in their various chosen businesses.
Ariet Njoku, a beneficiary from Abia State, expressed satisfaction over the NG-CARES, saying it had assisted in boosting her palm oil business.