The Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES), has expressed confidence in the commitment of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory to utilise the 750 million dollars NG-CARES fund before June 2023.
Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa, Task Team Leader (TTL) for NG-CARES, stated this is an interview with newsmen on the sidelines of the NG-CARES Implementation Support Meeting held on Thursday in Abuja.
Okunmadewa said that the programme was getting to its closing level, adding that all the key elements that were supposed to be in place were available as the states were committed.
He said: ” All the states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory are deeply committed and that give us the confidence that things will turn around and there will be close to 100 per cent performance going forward.
” Even the performance that we have now is not a bad, but we want the best, the maximum, because the challenges and issues are huge.This is an emergency operation.
” In fact, I can tell you that the resources that are available in this programme are very small compared to the challenges that we are talking about.
” So, in no time, I’m sure the states with the commitment they are showing now, with the eagerness to move very quickly, will utilise all of the resources.”
Okunmadewa said that the programme was designed as an emergency operation approved in 2020, with the understanding that it will close in June 2023.
” We have nine months from now and within the period a lot can happen when all the guns in 37 points are firing at the same time in no time these resources will be used,” he added.
On his part, the National Coordinator of NG-CARES, Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, disclosed that so far, it had disbursed N35.3 billion to all the 36 states and the FCT.
Obaje said that the expectation was that being a programme for result, states would double the amount of money that was given to them to enable them produce results.
He said: ” So that when the Independent Verification Agent come or visit to the states in Oct., then the states will have published and posted enough results that will enable this advance of N35.3 billion to be taken one off.
” Then, the states will have enough reimbursement to be available to continue the implementation of the programme going forward.
” Some states are holding on to this advance not releasing the money to the delivery platforms.
”And in that case the delivery platforms cannot produce enough results and this has implications with the Independent Verification Agent’s visit.
” So, we are really very worried with the way some states are handling this issue of advance and even funding of their delivery platforms.” (NAN)