The ONDO-CARES intervention programme is an extension of the NG CARES which is an emergency programme aimed at supporting state-level efforts to respond to and recover from the COVID-19-induced socio-economic crisis. Niger Delta Connect Correspondent, Fidelis David writes on its effects on the poor, the vulnerable and its possible stability on micro and small enterprises.
The Ondo State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Pastor Emmanuel Igbasan, has said the recently launched Ondo State COVID Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (ONDO-CARES) would tremendously mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and set the state on motion for quick social and economic recovery across the 18 local councils.
Igbasan, who disclosed this while speaking in Akure, revealed that $20m were given to each 36 states of the federation including the FCT by the World Bank with 80,734 beneficiaries from Ondo State.
The commissioner, while insisting that the state had a credible and reliable database of vulnerable persons and groups who would benefit from the initiative, ensured that the programme would deliver clinically to the targeted people.
He explained that the NG-CARES is a two-year emergency intervention designed by the World Bank in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to support states in Nigeria to restore the livelihood of poor and vulnerable households and stabilise Micro and Small Enterprises affected by the pandemic.
“The initiative is an intervention by World Bank that released $750m to the nation and distributed $20m for each of the 36 states of the Federation, including the FCT which got its own share.
“Contrary to speculations that initiative may hit the rock like previous interventions, the disbursement linked indicators and community-based measures deployed to select beneficiaries make it extremely difficult to influence results.
“The project would deliver clinically to the target beneficiaries. The beauty is that the state cannot get a dime except the project has been verified adequately. The money does not come to the purse of the state directly. This is the assurance we have on efficiency and transparency.”
He listed the beneficiaries to include 2,340 poor and vulnerable persons who will get state cash transfer; 3,705 youths (male and female) who are deployed into labour intensive public work activities on social services and works.
Others, according to him, are 4,711 micro and small enterprises; 48,000 beneficiaries of community micro projects and 21,978 small holder farmers who will get supplies of improved agricultural outputs through FADAMA.
The Commissioner, expressed the readiness of the state government to work with all state actors to ensure successful implementation of the project.
Recall that, as part of the measures to cushion the effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the poor and vulnerable and stabilise micro and small enterprises affected by the pandemic, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), had formally launched the Ondo State Covid Action Recovery And Economic Stimulus (ONDO-CARES).
Governor Akeredolu launched the programme on Monday at the International Culture and Event Centre (DOME), Igbatoro Road, Akure, the state capital.
Akeredolu disclosed that 80,734 beneficiaries which cut across different segments of the population have been captured and targeted under the implementation of the programme in the State.
Governor Akeredolu said beneficiaries of the intervention include 2,340 poor and vulnerable persons; 3,705 youths (male and female); 4,711 micro and small enterprises; 48,000 beneficiaries of community micro projects; and 21,978 small holder farmers, noting that the beneficiaries will cut across the 18 local government areas of the State.
Akeredolu said the NG-CARES is a two-year emergency intervention designed by the World Bank in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to support states in Nigeria to restore the livelihood of poor and vulnerable households and stabilise Micro and Small Enterprises affected by the pandemic.
“At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government put in place several measures aimed at tackling the menace and cushioning its effect on our people. This involved setting up of an Inter-ministerial Committee on COVID-19 and a committee on the distribution of palliatives to the people.
“Also the Infectious Disease Centres were strengthened across the State with special allowances paid to our frontline health workers to motivate them in responding to the challenge. All these efforts, among others, went a long way in stemming the scourge and alleviating its effects on our people.
“Similarly, in a bid to generate employment for our teeming youths and abate social unrest in the state, we set up an indigenous entrepreneurial development agency known as Ondo State Entrepreneurship Agency (ONDEA). I am delighted to inform you that since its establishment, the agency has successfully profiled a number of unemployed graduates and youths based on their skills and technical capabilities,” Governor Akeredolu noted.
He stressed that the intervention programme is performance-based, adding that it is a result-oriented programme which requires the state to work and achieve the expected results with its own resources and be verified by Independent Verification Agent (IVA) before reimbursement to the state.
“I, therefore, charge the state CARES Steering Committee and all stakeholders that all hands must be on deck to achieve the agreed results within the stipulated period.
The governor formally commenced and launched the ONDO-CARES Programme by distributing cheques and packages to verified beneficiaries, communities and farmers, under the State Community and Social Development Agency and Fadama respectively.
Apart from the cheques for the first tranche of fund for the communities to commence their projects as contained in the approved Community Development Plan (CDP), the benefitting farmers were given various agricultural inputs and assets.
Be as it may, in order to guide against failure, the state must deploy all its internal monitoring apparatus towards ensuring the successful implementation of this programme. Accordingly, the state must set up a monitoring agency, perhaps, known as Performance and Project Implementation Monitoring Unit (PPIMU), to among other things, oversee the implementation of all developmental initiatives in the state and provide feedback for timely and informed decision making.