By Joy Odor
The Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has inaugurated the State CARES Steering Committee (N-SCSC), to facilitate the implementation of the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in the state.
Engineer Sule inaugurated the 9-man committee at a ceremony, which held at the Government House, on Wednesday.
According to the Governor, CARES, a World Bank assisted programme, will be driven and implemented in the state by the Nasarawa State a Community and Social Development Agency, as well as the Fadama III, by helping to increase existing social transfers, for the benefit of the people of the state.
CARES is a World Bank programme aimed at preparing and supporting the country’s efforts for economic recovery together with other programmes of the Federal Government, such as the Economic Sustainability Plan.
The programme has the objective of expanding access to livelihood support and food security services and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms.
Engineer Sule noted that, though efforts by the Federal Government on the economy, since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, has been able to attract lots of support from the World Bank, only states that are serious stand to benefit from the $20m low facility earmarked for the project in the country.
He said considering that Nasarawa State belongs to the bottom 25 in terms of federation allocation, the state has no option than to not only pick interest in the programme but also show commitment, in order for the people to benefit.
“That’s the reason why when issues like this comes up, as leaders, we need to show seriousness,” the Governor advised the members of the newly inaugurated committee.
Engineer Sule said there is need for the people of the state to understand the fact that COVID-19 challenges are here to stay, just as he pointed out that citizens should also be ready to live with the coronavirus pandemic just like they have been living with malaria.
While noting that the country has gone into another recession, the Governor was however optimistic that Nasarawa State and indeed, the country at large, can use the challenges posed by the COVID-19 for beneficial ends.
“There are situations where when there are challenges, some people use the challenges to their benefit. I think that’s the way we should be looking at issues in Nasarawa State, not just fold our arms and say forget about it,” he said.
The Governor commended his Deputy, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, for being part of and supporting the committees throughout the process, urging the members of the newly inaugurated committee to take their assignment with all seriousness.
He pointed that, every aspect of funding is going to add a lot of value to what his administration is doing in the state, especially that the government has so many projects, so much work to do.
Earlier, in his opening statement, Special Adviser to the Governor on Investment and Economic Planning, Barrister Ibrahim Abdullahi, disclosed that the World Bank, through the programme, is providing a $20m facility for the 36 states of the country, meant to stimulate the economy, in the global commitment to provide succor in the event of prolonged COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged world economies.
The Special Adviser recalled that Engineer Sule earlier approved the constitution of the state’s CARES technical committee, which negotiated and prepared for the state to qualify, as well as meet all requirements to benefit from the facility.
“It’s in furtherance of the commitment of His Excellency, to accountability, transparency, open governance and sustainability of development plans,” Barrister Abdullahi stated.
He added that the newly inaugurated state steering committee will provide the political and administrative governance to the implementation of the programme.
The 9-man committee has Hon. Haruna Adamu Ogbole, State Commissioner of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning as Chairman.