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Buhari govt lifted two million people out of poverty in one year – Clement Agba

The Federal Government says that it has lifted over two million poor and vulnerable Nigerians through the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) programme within one year of its full implementation.

Mr. Clem Agba, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning disclosed this during the Maiden Ministerial Town Hall Meeting on NG-CARES in Uyo on Friday.

Our Correspondent reports that the NG-CARES is a programme designed to provide immediate emergency relief to vulnerable and poor Nigerians, smallholder farmers, and SMEs that were adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Agba, who was represented by Mr. Aso Vakporaye, Chairman, Federal CARES Technical Committee, said that the figure of the beneficiaries was arrived at through the report conducted by an Independent Verification Agent.

He said that the Buhari administration will continue to strive and deliver developments to Nigerians even if it has only a few seconds to hand over to the next administration.

“In about a year of full implementation, NG-CARES has impacted over 2 million direct beneficiaries. This is based on the report of the first round of assessment of the Programme implementation conducted by an Independent National Agent.

“In order to mitigate the adverse impact of the pandemic and lay solid policy measures under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2020, the ESP laid out policy measures to mobilise funds and other resources to maintain macro-economic stability, stimulate oil and non-oil government revenue and reduce non-essential spending.

“The Federal Government accessed a World Bank concessional loan in the sum of 750 million dollars on behalf of the 36 States and FCT to stimulate the local economy and increase households’ consumption among the poor and vulnerable segment of the society,” Agba said.

Agba said further that the move was on the pathway of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the period of 10 years as promised by President Buhari.

He emphasised that the FG remains resolute and committed to restoring the livelihood of poor and vulnerable Nigerians, maintaining food, and facilitating the recovery of MSEs.

He said that the purpose of the town hall meeting was to provide a forum for government and citizens’ interaction for better governance and participatory democracy.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Head M&E, Federal Cares Support Unit, Atiku Musa added that the programme will help to obtain and document information on achievements and challenges from direct beneficiaries and implementing entities.

On his part, the National Coordinator of NG-CARES, Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, disclosed that the World Bank loan of 750 million dollars is for a period of two years (2021-2023).

He also added that the intervention allocation to each state is 20 million dollars ex-ante and 15 million dollars to FCT and 15 million dollars for Federal Cares Support.

Obaje revealed that for States at the Uyo centre, Akwa Ibom State received N992.3 million with 11,967 beneficiaries while Cross River received N907.8 million with 10,430 beneficiaries.

Speaking to our Correspondent, one of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Mercy Job, who is a trader, praised the federal government for upscaling her business through the NG-CARES programme.

Job, an indigene of Akwa Ibom said that her business suffered stagnation because of inadequate funds, adding that since government intervened, she has been counting profits.

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