Text of Press Conference delivered by Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, Honourable Minister Of State For Budget And National Planning & Chairman, Federal Cares Steering Committee at The Conference Room Of The Federal Ministry Of Budget And National Planning on Tuesday, 18th April 2023
I wish to warmly welcome you to this press conference organized to provide an update on the Federal Government’s progress in its resolve to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
2. In the course of this briefing, we hope to share information on the disbursement of funds to states and the FCT under the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) Programme. This is part of efforts towards achieving the core objectives of the Economic Sustainability Plan put in place by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
3. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, as you may be aware, the Federal Government sought and obtained a 750 million USD credit facility from the World Bank to support the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory in the implementation of the NG-CARES Programme. The purpose of the support is to mitigate the economic and social shocks faced by poor and vulnerable Nigerians as a result of the lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis.
4. The credit is on-lent to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory with each state allocated 20 million USD Ex ante and the Federal Capital Territory 15 million USD. It is a Multi-Sectoral Programme designed to provide immediate emergency relief across various sectors, to vulnerable and poor Nigerians, Smallholder Farmers and SMEs that were adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
5. By design, the NG-CARES is a Programme for Result (PforR) where States and the FCT are reimbursed for expending their own funds if they implement the programme in line with the signed Financing Agreement, The Funds Release Policy and Independent Verification Agent (IVA) Protocol.
6. NG-CARES was launched on 20th January 2022 by His Excellency the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON.
7. The Independent Verification Agent conducted the first Results Verification Exercise and submitted a report, which was validated by the Federal CARES Technical Committee and signed off by the Federal CARES Steering Committee which I chair. Based on results earned by the 36 States and the FCT, the Federal Government on Thursday 13th April 2023, disbursed the total sum of 45.3 billion Naira to 29 States and the FCT.
8. Zamfara State emerged as the best performing State after this round of assessment and therefore received the highest amount from the total disbursed sum of 45.3 billion Naira, with an allocation of N5,273,150,000.00 (Five billion, Two Hundred and Seventy-Three Million, One Hundred and Fifty Thousand). Additional information on each State’s funding details and that of the FCT, will be distributed after this press conference.
9. Out of the 36 States and the FCT that are participating in the NG-CARES Programme, 7 States were unable to repay the Advance while One (1) State (Imo) did not earn any Result in the first round.
10. For the purpose of clarification, let it be noted that if a State does not receive reimbursement during the current round, they are still eligible for reimbursement during subsequent rounds. In order to qualify, states must adhere to set guidelines outlined in the Programmes’s Financing Agreement, Funds Release Policy and Independent Verification Agent Protocol.
11. Going forward, there will be more assessments and any eligible State or the FCT that meets these criteria will receive reimbursement accordingly.
12. The results of this first round of assessment show that States and the FCT are improving on their strides to alleviate poverty in line with the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR. The Programme has impacted over 2 million direct beneficiaries who are poor and vulnerable in the 36 States and the FCT. This is a testament to the success of the programme so far.
13. You would recall that in order to ensure a seamless implementation of the programme and noting the challenge of paucity of funds faced by the states and the FCT, the Federal Government provided an initial advance of 35.3 billion Naira to all the 36 States and the FCT in March 2022 with a plan to recover the one-off advance during reimbursement. Within one year of giving out the advance, many states were able to achieve appreciable results and this informed the Federal Government’s approval to release earned reimbursement to the states and the FCT based on their outstanding performance.
14. Ladies and Gentlemen, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will continue to strive to deliver development to the poor and vulnerable and the underserved even a few seconds to hand over to the next administration.
15. The press is very critical to national development and the Nigerian press has been very supportive of our development initiatives for which I offer this administration’s profound appreciation. Please note that we still crave your support for the Federal government in its commitment to bring development to poor and vulnerable Nigerians through unbiased reporting of the giant strides this government has made.
16. Thank you for your kind attention.
By Suleiman Ibn Odapu
Information Communications Officer (NG-CARES)