By Deji Lambo
The Federal Government is on the brink of getting a one-year extension to access the World Bank’s $750m concessional loan for Nigeria’s COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus on behalf of the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory.
The World Bank Task Team Leader for the NG-CARES, Professor Foluso Okunmadewa, confirmed the development in Ibadan, Oyo State, during the maiden town hall meeting for stakeholders under the NG-CARES programme.
Okunmadewa, while speaking at the event, said 29 states and the FCT had so far earned reimbursement after deducting the initial advance, adding that seven states earned no reimbursement.
He noted that the World Bank would continue to allow access to funds as long as it sees evidence of the continued commitment of state governments to disbursements of the funds.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, in his remarks, said the NG-CARES programme had impacted the lives of over two million direct beneficiaries in the country, adding that the development was in line with the vision of the President to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within 10 years.
Represented by the Chairman of the NG-CARES Technical Committee, Reverend Aso Vakporaye, Agba said the federal government was committed to restoring the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable Nigerians, noting that the extension of the programme was crucial towards solving poverty in the country.
Recall that during the challenges induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government accessed a World Bank concessional loan of $750m on behalf of the 36 states and the FCT, to run from 2021-2023.
The loan was to stimulate the local economy and increase households consumption among the poor and vulnerable segments of the society.