By Salisu Sani-Idris
Abuja, – The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, has disbursed N215 million to 5,054 beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in the nation’s capital.
Aliyu, while disbursing the funds, explained that the figure was made up of 3,650 beneficiaries of Social Transfer scheme, and 1,404 beneficiaries of Livelihoods grant.
She said that the social transfer would run for 12 months of six cycles, adding that all the beneficiaries would be receiving stipends of N20, 000.00 bimonthly payments.
Aliyu also said that beneficiaries under the livelihood Grants programme would receive between N50, 000.00 to N135, 000.00, one-off payment, depending on the business category.
The minister said that the programme was part of the Economic Sustainability Plan of the present administration.
“The programme is anchored under the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) scheme. It is designed to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants to poor and vulnerable households and firms.
“It also seeks to promote recovery of Medium Scales Enterprises (MSEs) in the country and revive the economy, especially in the rural areas, where more than 70 per cent of our population dwells.’’
Aliyu further said that beyond the NG-CARES initiatives, the FCT Administration in the course of the year implemented other support programmes to residents of the territory.
According to her, they include the FADAMA CARES, CSDP CARES and the AEA CARES at different times and locations.
She described the event as a promise kept and mission accomplished by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Aliyu recalled that at the inception of the present administration, the party released a blue-print for lifting 100 million people from poverty through comprehensive policies of Conditional Cash Transfer, and Home Grown School Feeding.
She listed the other programmes as the N-Power schemes, Government Economic and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), Trader Moni, Market Moni and a host of others.
According to her, the programmes have impacted positively on the lives of the ordinary citizens and have surprised the nay-sayers, as testimonies of the huge successes achieved in the implementation of these programmes abound.
Presenting an overview of the programme, the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola, said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria led to the closure of many MSEs, loss of jobs, stalled provision of basic services in poor communities.
“It has thereby, increased the population of Nigerians living below the poverty line.
“The programmes are in response to the hardship perpetuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is also in line with the vision of the Federal Government to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years.
“The government of Nigeria, on behalf of the 36 states and the FCT, sought and obtained assistance from the World Bank to the tune of 750 million dollars for on-lending to the states and FCT.
“To implement a two-year emergency response programme, named the “Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES).’’
He said that the NG-CARES programme seeks to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the livelihoods of poor individuals, farmers, vulnerable households, communities and owners of Micro and Small Enterprises.
He said that in the FCT, the programme has been domesticated and code named FCT-CARES.
Adesola said that the administration had achieved major milestones which include orientation of new staff, training of soft skills for beneficiaries of livelihoods grant, and procurement of payment service provider.
Others he said were enrolment training for Cash Transfer Facilitators (CTFs), Data Capturing of beneficiaries, and training of beneficiaries on Livelihood activities.
He thanked the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, and the Minister of State, Aliyu for not resting on their oars in order to see to the successful implementation of the NG-CARES programme in the FCT.
The permanent secretary also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for sustaining implementation of the Social Safety Net Programme for the benefit of the poor.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the highpoint of the event was the symbolic presentation of cheque to some of the beneficiaries. (NAN)