By Friday Idachaba
Lokoja, Jan. 14, 2021 The Kogi Government has set aside over N3 billion to expand access to livelihood support and food security for the poor and vulnerable.
Gov. Yahaya Bello donated the money under the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus – Program for Results (Nigeria CARES).
He announced the donation, while declaring open a one-day key stakeholders’ sensitisation and training programme on Kogi Government version of NG CARES Programme for Results on Thursday.
Represented by Dr Folashade Ayoade-Arike, Secretary to State Government (SSG), Bello said the programme was divided into three areas including Basic Social Cash Transfer under Social Safety Network Program; FADAMA and SMEs.
He gave an assurance that the release of the earmarked N3 billion for the programme had been captured in the 2021 budget.
“In Kogi, we do not believe in bureaucratic bottlenecks. We will make sure releases are made without undue bureaucracy,’’ the governor said.
Asiru Idris, the state Commissioner of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning said KG CARES Programme for Results was aimed at mitigating the effects of COVID-19 on the people and businesses in the state.
“As we know, Kogi State has no evidence of COVID-19. However, COVID-19-induced effects are very much with us, which have reduced our revenue and escalated inflation, thereby putting needless pressures on our people.
“In early 2020, the world started to witness huge disruptions over COVID-19 related issues. COVID forced lockdowns and restrictions across the globe and across sectors, which almost sniffed life out of humanity.
“Expectedly, this led to inability of businesses to cover their recurrent costs, leading to upsurge in unemployment, inflation, poverty and other disturbing social and economic indices,’’ the commissioner said.
Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, National Coordinator, Federal Project Support Unit (FPSU) of Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) of the World Bank, commended the Federal and State Governments as well as the World Bank for rising to the challenge.
Obaje who was represented by Mr Niyi Oduneye, noted that the second wave of the pandemic was more virulent and more dangerous than the first one.
Mrs Deborah Ogunmola, the state Head of Service (HOS), said COVID-19 had affected over 200 countries, territories and areas in the world; destroying their economy, food security and livelihood.
She said that the pandemic also negatively impacted on livelihoods resulting in loss of wage/income, non-wage income in form of diaspora remittances, food insecurity as well as impact on household/micro enterprises.
Malam Momoh Dauda, General Manager, Kogi State Community and Social Development Agency (KGCSDA), said the implementing agency of the programme was an initiative of the World Bank to assuage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on livelihood.
“The World Bank is trying to assist in Nigeria and is giving a loan of about 170 million dollars to all the states.
“Each state will be entitled to 20 million dollars while FCT will have 50 million dollars to address the effects of the COVID-19,’’ Dauda said.