From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Delta State Government has said that vulnerable and poor households, farmers and Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic would be assisted to recover from their losses.
The assistance would be under the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) programme, a short term response to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
A nine-member committee chaired by Commissioner for Economic Planning Barry Gbe has been set up to drive the process in the state.
The programme coordinator Patience Ogbewe, at the inaugural sitting of the committee in Asaba, said the state would fully utilise the federal government and World Bank economic intervention scheme to lift businesses and poor households.
She explained that the Programme Development Objective (PDO) is to expand access to livelihood support, food security services and give grants to the poor and vulnerable households and enterprises.
Ogbewe said the programme outlined a two-year financial support to states to achieve results in three main areas, including the increase in cash transfers and livelihood support to poor and vulnerable households by supporting the scaling up of existing safety net interventions at the state level.
The second area, according to Ogbewe, would be support to farmers in terms of farm inputs and extension services to guarantee food security and safe functioning of the food supply chain for poor households.
The third area would be on facilitating recovery and enhancing capabilities of medium and small scale enterprises (MSEs).
‘It will support scaling up interventions that help MSE through grants to support post-COVID-19 loans, grants to support operational costs and enhance ICT capabilities,’ she noted.
NG-CARES is expected to commence in April and would run for two years.
Existing platforms such as the State Fadama Coordination Office, Community Driven Development Social Implementation Unit (CDDSIU) and the Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency (DEMSA), among others, are expected to be vehicles in achieving the desired objectives of the programme.