The Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) social protection programme in 36 states and the FCT can effectively coordinate the distribution of the proposed Federal Government palliatives across the country, the World Bank says.
This followed the decision of the National Economic Council in Nigeria on palliative measures to mitigate the impact of the subsidy withdrawal policy through the NG-Cares Programme in the country.
The World Bank Task Team Leader for NG-CARES, Professor Foluso Okunmadewa stated this on the sidelines of the Second Quarter Performance Review Meeting of NG-CARES Programme in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
He explained that the CARES programme in all 36 states and the FCT is being supported by the Federal Government and the World Bank
The NG-Cares is an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the World Bank both in terms of financial resources and technical assistance designed to provide support to the recovery communities, households and businesses by COVID-19 and other emergencies.
The program is State-owned as they are fully responsible for funding and selection of beneficiaries.
According to Okunmadewa, States are currently using their own implementing units to deliver services and goods to the poor and vulnerable in their states in all the three major areas that the programme supports.
He said that states have the manpower, institutions and structures to be able to support the poor and vulnerable the way they are currently structured.
“They have social protection structures, they can transfer cash because they have a very solid registry managed by the state planning ministries and they have a database of the poor.
“They also have a good mechanism, one of the best in the world for identifying the poor and vulnerable which they have been using since 2015 and up to date every state has been able to use it for several programmes that international partners are even supporting in all the 36 states and the FCT,” he said.
The World Bank Lead added that the states have human capacity, their staff are trained in agriculture to support farmers and they also have mechanisms for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSMEs).
“Some of them are partnering with the Bank of Industry to assist MSMEs. So, they already have shock-responsive mechanisms.
“The only thing that is lacking is resources in the hands of these states to cover more ground and this is where the world bank and development partners come in.”
The National Coordinator of NG-CARES, Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, said the structures that are being used to implement the NG-CARES programmes are owned by state governments and have the paraphernalia in terms of institutions, staff and funding to a large extent.
“The NG-CARES formation was brought about by the governor’s themselves, they requested it,” he said.
Obaje said that “shock responsive mechanisms” are part of the NG-CARES structures being a state-government-owned initiative, and have the capacity to manage the planned disbursement of palliatives.
With a recent report by the National Social Safety-Net Coordinating Office the number of poor and economically insecure households registered in the National Social Registry has climbed to 15.7 million in Nigeria.
With this, the National Coordinator of NG-CARES noted that social registries can serve as a credible gateway to select beneficiaries for immediate support in states. especially as government makes efforts to provide fuel subsidy palliatives to households.