BY DIKACHI ELEMBA
The Nigeria COVID-19 Actions Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES), a World Bank assisted fund, may have shown its readiness to assist the Imo State government with $20 million, Chibuzor Innocent Awurum, the NG-CARES coordinator, Imo State has confirmed.
This fund, if received, will help to give economic protection to the less privileged and vulnerable households, including the disabled, chronically ill, and aged persons.
According to Awurum, it would serve as a stimulus to cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small and micro businesses, and provide support to farmers and farmer enterprises in the state.
The coordinator said the target beneficiaries would be drawn from the Imo State Social Register, while disbursement would be achieved through the state’s existing platform.
Part of the fund would be expended on what he termed wet markets across the state to upgrade the sanitation infrastructures of the existing wet markets, Awurum further informed.
Meanwhile, he stated that there would be provision of livelihood support for ably strong youths, men and women who would be engaged in labour intensive public works, and micro commercial activities as a form of economic emancipation.
According to him, community development social infrastructure such as micro farm produce processing units, boreholes, and other infrastructural maintenance activities would be established with the fund to aid micro economic revival in the state.
He commended Governor Hope Uzodimma for providing the enabling environment and working tools for the programme. He also commended the Imo State commissioner for finance and co-ordinating economy, and chairman, Imo State NG-CARES steering committee, Doris Uzoka-Anite for readily availing his team of logistics and other forms of support.
“The programme is expected to last for two years, during which period the beneficiaries would receive the fund as grants. We are grateful to Governor Hope Uzodimma for providing a wonderful working environment that will ensure that target beneficiaries would not be eluded in the programme,” he said.
He also thanked the federal government and the World Bank for initiating the programme, and called on Imo residents to continue to support Governor Hope Uzodimma in his efforts at stabilising, and sustainably growing the economy of the state.