Prof. Yusuf Suleiman, Team Leader, Physical Implementation Support Mission for the NG-CARES Programme from the World Bank said that about N35.3 billion has so far been disbursed to 36 states of the federation and FCT to mitigate COVID-19 impact.
He made the disclosure during a courtesy call on Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State at Government House, Birnin Kebbi, yesterday.
A statement issued by Yahaya Sarki, the Special Adviser on Media to the Governor Bagudu said the professor revealed that the physical Implementation Action Support Mission for the NG-CARES is a World Bank emergency support programme to states to actually assist them in their efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 socio-economic crisis.
Suleiman said: “In the last one month states have become disbursement effective. As at last week, we were able to disburse N35.3 billion to states of which Kebbi got N900 million.
“The review that we did was desk review, what you saw on papers was far below the level of what has been achieved at the state level. So, our coming here for support implementation mission is very important, the programme remained a programme for results.”
He said states had to deliver on results first before money would be reimbursed, he, however, said, to stimulate action, the states were given the opportunity of getting advances which had just been transfered to Kebbi and other 36 states of the feration and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Suleiman said: “What has been given to states will be recouped fully in the next six months, if a state is unable to achieve results beyond that N900 million it will be difficult going forward.
“Your Excellency sir, given your passion and support to the citizens of Kebbi State, we will require additional funding for the programme in Kebbi, so that in six months when we are recovering the money, the IBA come around and checks on the results, they can actually see what you have achieved beyond the N900 million and refund you beyond N900 million even beyond the amount you put.
“I hope with your support, we can get additional N1.2 to N2 billion to the programme so that by the time we are recovering money in the next six months, we will get N4 billion because of the result that we will have on ground.
“Sir, matching fund is one thing we have to look at, we have to sensitise your staff to be able to deliver on this, because it is an emergency programme that will end in the next one and half years,” he said.
Explaining further about the programme, Suleiman said: “The NG-CARES is a support programme to states to actually complement them in their efforts to ensure that the crisis of COVID-19 are mitigated and in that wise, the Federal Government along with the World Bank as well as states agreed to a $750 million support on COVID-19 Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme.
“In Kebbi, there are nine DLIS implemented out of 11 DLIS in total for the three Resort Areas (RAs). In resort area one, there are three areas Kebbi has picked as the key things to implement, they are the social transfer, livelihood support as well as basic social services to the poor.
“And in agriculture, all the four linked disbursement areas have been picked relating to input supply, on farm infrustructure, asset and ensuring further infrustructure development. In RA three, which relates to Micro and Small Enterprises, there are two main areas; operational support to micro and small enterprises.”
On recent bandits’ attack that claimed lives, Suleiman commiserated with the governor, praying that Almighty Allah would accept them and grant them mercy in Aljannatul Firdaus.
Suleiman also appreciated the giant strides achievements of the governor in areas of agriculture, infrustructure and community development as well as empowerment of the people.
“Your Excellency, for those of us that are students of development, we hear a lot of things that is going on in Kebbi State and in particular, nobody will deny the “Lake Rice” which is one thing that has transformed Nigeria to extent that the level of import of rice has declined significantly. We thank you for that effort sir.”
Responding, Governor Bagudu appreciated the delegation for the visit and condolences.
He assured the delegation that Kebbi team would move quicker to be able to derive maximum benefits from the programme.
Bagudu recalled that two days ago he met with some World Bank officials who were helping the state in Nigeria for Women Programme where he advocated for more coordination of World Bank programmes in states.
He said: “We would like to see the programmes being coordinated more, because quite often, you will have two or more World Bank Programmes in a state but literally, by institutional design, they are not talking to each other.
“Because at the World Bank level they have different programmes managers and at state level they have different programme managers, even though, they explained that the World Bank expect in each state that some ministries should be the programme coordinating units but the practice doesn’t happen that way.
“For example, NG-CARE now has a unit and in all probability communication will be dominated by the project.
“If it is an agricultural programme, the ministry of agriculture will play a role, this affects programme sharing, especially where it involves selection, it becomes more difficult and sometimes actually create problem.
“Because if in the same community you have two programmes, one is a loan programme and one is a grant, one can interfere with another. So, in what we will be proposing will be mindful of this.
“For example, I know Nigeria for Women Program is in three (3) Local Government Areas of the state and we have Conditional Cash Transfer, which is also a World Bank supported programme in six other Local Government Areas.”
Bagudu explained that in order to minimise duplication , the steering committee would calibrate on that, adding that it would provide an opportunity to locate programmes in local government areas that did not benefit from any.
He noted with satisfaction that the cash transfer was in six LGAs of the state where N6 billion was expected to be disbursed to beneficiaries.
Bagudu encouraged the project team in the state to work harder to meet the timeline to attract more projects to the state.
The governor lamented that COVID-19 had greatly affected the Northwestern states, especially in the area of availability of cows, adding that in most places, those cows were used to plaugh farm lands.
He said it was in view of this that the state government in compensatory mechanism purchased tractors and supplied to some LGAs affected by such shortage of cows to be used in tilling the land to make ridges.
“We would like you to appreciate that challenge, may be if the programme can be calibrated to capture this, to support us to deliver more in that direction of livelihood support, especially tractor service to compensate the farmers,” he pleaded.