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Ondo State Government has been decorated with a special Award as the Best in the South and third Best Performing State under the Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) Programme.

The award was presented to the State Government in Akure during the World Bank and Federal CARES Interactive Support Mission in preparation for the forthcoming second IVA visit to the State.

Presenting the award, the Chairman, Federal CARES Technical Committee (FCTC), Rev Aso Vakporaye, commended the state government for showing other states that the programme implementation was possible.

He described the the state version of the NG-CARES Programme tagged Od-CARES under Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, as huge a success, which other States should emulate. 

"I rejoice with Ondo State. You have shown that you feel for your people, down in the South. So, I'm thrilled to have seen this success. It is not an easy thing to be different positively, what you are doing is good. You are lifting people up from the yoke of poverty.

"So, together we are kicking poverty out of the shores of Nigeria. We are coming back to Ondo State to kick start the second leg and we will win", Rev.  Vakporaye concluded.

The Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget and  Chairman of the State Steering Committee, who received the award on behalf of the State government, Pastor Emmanuel Igbasan, appreciated the Federal Government for the award.

He lauded the Federal Government for recognizing the state's outstanding performance and achievements in the NG-CARES programme, promising that the state under Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu will do more to lift more people out of poverty.

The Commissioner who was full of joy that the state came first in the Southern part and third in the entire country, said the  award is a testament to the outstanding performance in the implementation of the NG-CARES

"I have to thank Mr. Governor first for giving us a free hand to implement this laudable programme that is to impact the vulnerable people in our society, and also thank the Federal Government and World Bank for putting this programme together.

"The award we received is a testament to the impact the programme has in our State and how it has been implemented here and I want to assure our people that going forward, we will do more.

"The proper implementation for NG-CARES is the availability of  $750m pool of fund for all states of the federation. Out of this, a nominal $20m is earmarked for each state. The fund is warehoused with the Central Bank of Nigeria, as it is not coming to the State directly. There are different guidelines and eligible criteria that are associated with it. It is only accessible when the state shows results achieved." Igbasan said.

Also, the World Bank Task Team leader, Prof Foluso Okunmadewa, applauded the performance of the state in all the programmes in the state, encouraging the government to do more.

The National Coordinator, NG-CARES  Programme, Abdulkarim Obaje,  said more technical support will be provided for the implementing agencies of the NG-CARES in the State.

"We have also used this opportunity to congratulate Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for the wonderful performance during the first round of IVA assessment which carried out in January 2023 on the basis of which all the states in the federation were reimbursed, and Ondo State came first in the South  and third in the entire federation.

"Ondo got reimbursed with the sum of N4.2B. The state implementing agencies are being given guidance and preparation for the second round of IVA which comes up between 3rd and 7th of July, 2023.

"IVA means Independent Verification Agency. It is the body that has been put in place by the federal government to verify and evaluate results that have been produced by the state under the NG-CARES programme."

The event was witnessed by State Permanent Secretsry and Accountant General, in the Accountant -General's Office, Mrs Toyin Oni, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Bayo Philip and other top government functionaries as well as other stakeholders.

NG-CARES is a Federal Government initiative to expand access to livelihood support that provides food security services and grants for poor and vulnerable households to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic. The programme is being implemented in all the states of the federation.

Sunday AjibolaHead Media,

Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget.


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