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CARES will change Anambra’s economic landscape – Okoye

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THE COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) meant to help support people cushion the effect of hardship brought by the COVID-19 pandemic will boost productivity and stimulate the economic and development landscape of Anambra State.

Anambra State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Budget and Development Partners, Mark Okoye stated this while briefing the media after the Federal Government Readiness Assessment Team of CARES paid him a courtesy call to access the state’s readiness for the take off of the World Bank sponsored and the federal government assisted CARES programme in Awka.

Okoye highlighted that the programme will intervene across three result areas; provide social transfers and intervention for the poor and vulnerable, address the challenge of food security, boost production and productivity in agriculture. The third; provide opportunities for quality interventions that will impact medium and small businesses in the state, Essentially, to keep the businesses as a going concern.

“The two-year programme which takes off July 1, 2021, will have over 50 thousand beneficiaries and requires four delivery platforms to execute it. FADAMA overseeing the agricultural sector. The Cash Transfer Unit takes responsibility for the social investment. The community intervention will be executed by the Community Social Development Agency (CSDA). Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA) will handle the business sector. The investment partner, the delivery platform of the programme has the Ministry for Economic Planning, Budget and Development Partners overseeing it,” he said.

Okoye maintained that the World Bank and the federal government would be providing the fund to the state, “the state has a critical role to play in the sense that the World Bank and the federal government would not fund any project not captured in their provision for the state. They want to see that every project they are funding is captured in the state’s annual budget. Also, ensure that every budget must be approved by the State Steering Committee of the programme to ensure that it aligns with the budget.”

“A big component of this programme is the transparency and the credibility of the process. Every six months, the federal government will send down independent verification agents to look at the result the state claims to have met, if they find it satisfactory they would advise the World Bank and the Federal Ministry of Finance to dispense funds which will be used to meet the additional target in the next six months.”

“When beneficiaries are receiving intervention from the programme, 80 per cent of the intervention will be on a grant basis, the 20 per cent loan component will go to the businesses which are already going concern, unlike banks that offer 22 per cent; this programme will offer interest at 9 per cent.”

The lead team of the Federal Technical Committee N-CARES, to the state, Martina Nwordu, expressed satisfaction with the state readiness for the take-off of the programme.

“We are impressed by what we have seen. The programme is a good initiative meant to push funds into the system to reduce poverty, unemployment and support the people’s livelihood,” she said.

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