By Godfrey Ofurum
The Abia State government, through the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and New Business Development, has announced plans to start disbursement of NG-Cares stimulus package on Result Area 3 to beneficiaries.
NG-Cares, Nigeria’s COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus programme, is an initiative of the federal government, supported by the World Bank, to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods and small businesses to support them to overcome activities that may have affected their earnings.
Aham Uko, commissioner for finance, Abia State, who represented Governor Okezie Ikpeazu at the flag-off of validation of register on result Area 3 held at the Abia Investment House, Umuahia, assured beneficiaries that the programme has reached an advanced stage, noting that disbursement of funds and other materials will start before the end of October 2022.
He explained that the Bank of Industry (BoI), which is its technical partner in the programme, has completed the validation and enumeration exercise to ensure that the funds and other items get to the real beneficiaries.
“And that is why they are capturing you, matching your BVN with your account numbers, to show and authenticate that we are actually giving these items to the people that it is meant for. And I’m assuring you that for those individuals, this is the first tranche,” Uko said.
“This first tranche will be within the barn of N50,000 to N150,000. And those that are under the Information Technology (IT) enhancement segment will receive items like iPhone, tablets, some solar panels, laptops, point of sale (POS) systems and other IT-related facilities that would enhance your businesses,” he said.
He restated that the federal government, with the endorsement of the state government, wants to see how to encourage the youths and those in the micro and small business space to be able to overcome the challenges that are currently confronting the country.
“We know the impact of inflation and other activities that have affected us and I must appreciate our governor, who is also providing funding to support what the federal government and the World Bank are doing to ensure that we bring on board as many beneficiaries as possible,” the commissioner said.
He said that the state has over 1,000 beneficiaries in the first tranche of the programme, which will commence within the month, and with the hope to bring in as many people as possible in subsequent tranches.
Adaku Oseiza, the state commissioner for MSME and New Businesses Development, pleaded with the beneficiaries to utilise the funds and equipment properly to boost their businesses.
She urged them to ensure that the fund serves the purpose for which it was given to them.
“It is your business and all we are doing is to help provide you with the tools to support you, so that you will be useful to yourselves and your families. So, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if it was given to you and you do not use it properly,” Oseiza said.
“Take proper ownership of what has been given to you and use it to enhance your own livelihood. If cash is given to you to enhance your business, apply it well. Use the cash as part of your capital. Plough it into your business so that it can increase your business,” she advised.
Nnamdi Onwuharu, representative of the Bank of Industry, explained that the bank, through its platform received 14,000 applications, 2,991 of these applicants were nominated to go through a vetting process, 1,750 completed the vetting process, and 1,084 were enumerated, and the bank is now in the process of validating, capturing and disbursing funds to those enumerated.