The Federal Government has disbursed a total of N135.4 billion to states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) following the second Independent Assessment of Results under the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) initiative.
The announcement was made by Dr. Abdulkarim Obaje, the National Coordinator of the NG-CARES Programme, through a statement released by Suleiman Odapu, the Information and Communication Officer at NG-CARES, on Sunday.
The NG-CARES initiative, supported by the World Bank with a substantial budget of $750 million, is a multi-sectoral program aimed at providing essential emergency relief to vulnerable and poor Nigerians. The primary focus is on supporting smallholder farmers and Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) severely impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Obaje emphasized that the fund allocation was directly linked to the results achieved by states and the FCT in their efforts to assist the underprivileged under the NG-CARES initiative.
Nasarawa, Cross River, and Zamfara emerged as the top performers in the second round of the program assessment, securing N13.6 billion, N10.9 billion, and N10.2 billion, respectively.
“The top three best-performing states in this Second Round of Assessment are Nasarawa which earned N13,697,828,496.96, Cross River N10,944,747,818.84, and Zamfara N10,231,055,267.82,” stated Dr. Abdulkarim Obaje.
He further highlighted this achievement as a milestone in President Bola Tinubu’s administration’s efforts to provide funds towards addressing multi-dimensional poverty in the country.
Dr. Obaje commended the Minister for Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Atiku Bagudu, for effectively coordinating the NG-CARES program at the federal level, including states and the FCT. He also expressed gratitude to state governors, the FCT minister, and the World Bank for their unwavering support.
The NG-CARES initiative, launched by former Nigeria’s Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in January 2022, has a World Bank loan of $750 million spread over two years (2021-2023). The intervention allocation to each state is $20 million, with an additional $15 million earmarked for the FCT, and $15 million for the Federal Cares Support Unit.
This significant financial injection into the NG-CARES initiative reflects the government’s commitment to mitigating the economic challenges faced by vulnerable populations and bolstering the recovery efforts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.