BusinessDay

Plateau to benefit from 8bn World Bank Covid-19 Economic Stimulus Fund

In preparation for the implementation of the World Bank funded Covid-19 Action Economic Stimulus Programme for Result (NG-CARES), Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong has inaugurated a Steering Committee that will supervise the implementation of the programme in the state.

While inaugurating the Steering Committee at the Government House, Rayfield Jos, the governor said Plateau State is fully ready to participate in the implementation of the Programme which is financed by the World Bank and has fulfilled the requirements to access the $20million (over N8billion) from the $750 million granted to the Federal Government to address the negative consequences of Covid-19 on the nation’s economy.

The governor said: “We are all witnesses to the fact that Covid-19 has severely affected the lives of our citizens and that of the state in general. This has exposed poor and vulnerable households to challenges in multiple fronts. These include job losses; losses in business incomes; food insecurity; and general inability to obtain basic services for day to day living. This is even worsened by the drastic fall in government revenues”.

Lalong said the programme was commendable as it would assist the state to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

“In ensuring that our people benefit, Plateau State opted to implement all the three Result Areas of the programme because of their expected social intervention impacts on the economy,” he said.

The governor further said over that 60,129 citizens of Plateau State are expected to benefit from the project which has the potential of transforming the landscape of the state economy.

Among other things, the State’s CARES Steering Committee (SCSC) will be responsible for providing oversight direction to the implementing agencies; approving their work plans and budgets; ensuring that funds are released to delivery platforms in accordance with the funds flow agreement; as well as ensuring that there is full compliance with the Programme Appraisal Document.

He also warned that his administration would not tolerate failure.

“I shall be personally monitoring your activities to ensure that the state gets maximum benefit from its participation. Any act of non-performance or willful sabotage will not be tolerated in this programme. Since this is an emergency operation with clearly spelled out guidelines, each platform should work within the confine of its responsibilities to avoid task conflict which could affect performance,” he said.

He thanked Prof. Folosho Okunmodewa, the World Bank Task Team leader, and Abubakar Obaje, national coordinator for NG-CARES, for their commitment and support for the takeoff of the project.

Sylvester Wallangko, chairman of the Committee and Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, while responding on behalf of other members, said they would put in their best to achieve the objectives of the programme.

Wallangko further said it was a golden opportunity for the Lalong Rescue Administration to further push forward its vision for Economic Rebirth by promoting entrepreneurship and job creation.

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