Delta Governor and Vice-Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa on Friday said the state’s COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (D-CARES) Programme was to mitigate the adverse economic impact of the pandemic, particularly on the poor and vulnerable.
Okowa disclosed this at the official flag-off of the implementation of activities under Result Areas 1 and 2 of the Delta COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (D-CARES) Programme held at the Events Centre, Asaba.
He said that the D-CARES programme is a World Bank supported intervention with the main objective of expanding access to livelihood support and food security services as well as grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms.
He pledged his administration’s commitment towards implementation of all aspects of the D-CARES programme in the state for the overall benefit of the people.
“As we all know, the COVID-19 exerted a huge toll on the economy with the attendant loss of income and means of livelihoods by thousands of people.
“The CARES programme is to help mitigate the adverse economic impact of the pandemic, particularly on the poor and vulnerable.
“On September 28, last year, we gave operational support grants to 1,818 Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) under the Result Area 3 component of the programme.
“This administration is very committed to this programme because it complements and supports our various social intervention efforts.”
He said through the initiative, the programme will directly support; 25,269 poor and vulnerable households with social transfers, basic services, and livelihood grants; 13,976 farmers to increase food production and facilitate smooth functioning of the food supply chain, while 2,529 MSEs will be given grants to support post-COVID-19 loans, operational costs and to enhance their IT capabilities.
He advised the programme managers to continue to display high performance and accountability levels required for seamless execution.
“The successful implementation of the programme in the state, especially given the wide scope of the intervention would go a long way in addressing some of the negative economic impacts of the pandemic on our people.
While assuring that the State Government would continue to provide the necessary support and funding to ensure that the programme achieves its stated objectives, “it is indeed my hope that beneficiaries will make good use of the opportunity to grow their businesses, increase their income, and generally improve their living standard,” Okowa added.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, said beneficiaries drawn from poor and vulnerable households were selected on merit and not through political colouration or ethnic cleavages and urged them to maximise the opportunity.
In their goodwill messages, stakeholders of the programme from the world bank and other agencies lauded Governor Okowa for keying into the programme and affirmed that it will help to alleviate poverty.
Some of the beneficiaries including a physically challenged person thanked the Governor for giving them opportunity to benefit from the scheme emphasizing that their economic status has improved.
Highight of the programme was the presentation of cheques and farm implements to some beneficiaries by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.