The Patriot Institute of Journalism and Arts (PIJA), Lance Magazine is a public-centric independent media organisation dedicated to fighting injustice, fostering social justice and community development through the telling and retelling of the marginalised-oriented stories.
After PIJAlance Story, Kwara Govrt Faults KYAD’s claim, Denies Squandering NG-CARES Fund
The Kwara State Government has denied claims that the administration of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq siphoned over 20 Million Dollars NG-CARES Fund.
The fund which was intended to empower small and medium scale businesses in Kwara State, had earlier been reported by PIJAlance Magazine that Kwara State Government allegedly siphoned it and not using it as it was meant to be used. Read more.
The allegation reported was moreover alleged by a member of KYAD who in his interest see Kwara State Government as one who has “squandered the future of the Youth,” through the fund.
But of late, in a statement from the State Coordinator, Kwara State CARES Coordinating Unit, denounced the claim while characterising it as “false and a copycat effort by opposition elements to misinform the public and damage the reputation of the government.”
The statement also added that “The claim which is a laughable copycat effort seen in some other states, is nothing but a theatrical display that is totally false.
“The agenda of these fake news purveyors is to misinform the public, malign, and smear the reputation of the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq-led government, which has invested resources and efforts into social safety programmes in Kwara State.
“This rejoinder thetefore sets the record straight while offering the characters behind the malicious claims an opportunity to be properly informed on the concept, implementation, and achievements of the NG-CARES Programme in Kwara State.
2. The idea of NG-CARES came around May 2020 during the lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of Covid-19 in Nigeria. The NG-CARES is a two-year emergency response intervention designed by the World Bank and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to assist the 36 States and FCT cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives and livelihood of the poor and the vulnerable. The core objective of the programme is to “expand access to livelihood support and food security services, and grants for vulnerable households and firms”.
3. The NG-CARES Programme is a state-budgeted intervention with support from the World Bank through a credit facility in the sum of $750 Million USD, with each participating State eligible to access an equal amount of $20 Million USD, depending on the results achieved. It is imperative to also educate the general public that the NG-CARES Programme is a Programme for Result (PforR), as opposed to the usual Independent Project Financing (IPF) approach adopted by the World Bank. This is a novel financing instrument developed by the World Bank that links the disbursement of funds directly to the achievement of specific programme results. It is also important to state that while the programme is a grant to beneficiaries, it is a credit facility to the State Governments.
To this effect, a Subsidiary Loan Agreement (SLA) was entered into by the State government with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning on 30th August 2021. The programme was declared effective by the World Bank on 28th September 2021.
4. The NG-CARES Programme is being implemented in Kwara State by the following Delivery Platforms: the State Cash Transfer Unit (SCTU); Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW); Kwara State Community and Social Development Agency (KWCSDA), Kwara State FADAMA Coordinating Office; and Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP). The Kwara State CARES Coordinating Unit (SCCU) in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development provides institutional support to the implementing units.
5. As a participating State, Kwara State, like other States, was expected to meet the eligibility criteria set by the World Bank. In the end, the State was eligible for a DLI advance of N900 Million, which was released in March 2022. Thus far, the total sum of N1,418,314,964 has been expended on the NG-CARES Programme in Kwara State, out of which only N900,000,000 was provided by the World Bank. The sum of N518,314,964 was provided by the State Government towards implementing the Programme.
6. It is apt to state at this point that being a programme designed by the World Bank, the NG-CARES Programme is being implemented in strict adherence to the domesticated Operations Manual of the Programme. The Kwara State CARES Operations Manual was cleared by the World Bank. Being a Programme For Result, any State that implements the programme outside of the dictate of the Operations Manual is at risk of forfeiting the reimbursement from the World Bank.
7. For the programme, Kwara State subscribed to 8 of the 11 programmes designed by the World Bank. The following are the results achieved so far by the Kwara State government under the implementing agencies:
S/N Implementing Agencies Achievement
1 State Cash Transfer Unit (SCTU) 1690 Beneficiaries receiving N20,000 Bi-Monthly
2. Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW) 1025 Youths Engaged in Social Service receiving N10,000 Monthly.
3 Kwara State Community and Social Development Agency (KWCSDA) 35 Micro-Projects has been executed in 9 Local Governments in areas of health, water and sanitation.
4. Kwara State FADAMA Coordinating Office 6561 Farmers have benefitted from agric inputs and assets across the 16 LGAs of the State.
5. Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) 688 Small and Micro Businesses across the 16 LGAs supported with an operational grant in the range of N200,000 and N700,000.
8. The allegation by some opposition elements that the actual amount designed by the Federal Government was N3.2 Million or N3.5 million (as they variously claimed in self-contradiction) to MSMEs is false and concocted misinformation.
“This is nothing but a figment of their imagination. This falls under Result Area 3 being implemented by the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) which supported a total number of 688 Small and Micro Businesses with operational grants size of between N200,000.00 and N700,000.00 in the 16 Local Government Areas of the State. This is in tandem with the World Bank approved NG-CARES Operations Manual. This is contrary to the false claims that businesses were given peanuts of N15,000.00 each.
9. In addition, the NG-CARES Programme embraced transparency right from the application processes to the disbursement in collaboration with the Bank of Industry.
KWASSIP deployed an online portal where interested businesses provided documents and records of their businesses, while the Bank of Industry (BOI) was mandated with scrutinising their documents and disbursing to the eligible businesses. Through different news media, interested members of the public were adequately sensitized to register their businesses through the portal. The choice of BOI was to ensure that every application was treated based on their merit. All of the 688 businesses selected as first batch of beneficiaries were based on meeting the required eligibility criteria as stipulated in the Kwara State CARES Operations Manual.
10. At this juncture, it is germane to state that as one of the best-performing States, Kwara State was chosen by the World Bank for a Technical Support Mission to help other participating States learn from the modus operandi of the NG-CARES Programme in Kwara State.
11. Finally, we would like to enjoin members of the public to ignore the mischief being peddled by these opposition elements on the programme. The unfounded claim is an attempt to mislead the public as well as distract the good works of His Excellency Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, especially in the area of social safety investment. The first assessment by the Independent Verification Agents appointed by the World Bank was just recently concluded. Thereafter, the state government is expected to be reimbursed of its resources already invested into the programme in line with the verifications by the IVA.”
The NG-CARES Programme is a two-year emergency response intervention designed by the World Bank and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to assist states in cushioning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable.
The program is being implemented in Kwara State by several delivery platforms and is being done in strict adherence to the domesticated Operations Manual of the Programme, which has been cleared by the World Bank.
Read Also: Offa General Hospital Assault