Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
As part of efforts to mitigate the effect of COVID-19, the federal government is in the process of securing a $750 million World Bank loan on behalf of the states of the federation, to help stimulate the local economy and support consumption by vulnerable households.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed made the disclosure in Abuja, yesterday while inaugurating the Federal Steering Committee and Federal Technical Committee of the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery for Economic Stimulus (N-CARES).
The Federal Steering Committee is made up of ministers and permanent secretaries as well while the Technical Committee is made up of directors of key ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
The minister explained that to ensure that the implementation of the N-CARES was in line with the federal government’s priorities as outlined in the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), the Federal Steering Committee made up of ministers and permanent secretaries as well as a Technical Committee made up of directors of key MDAs have to be in place.
Ahmed noted that the government had carefully selected members of the committees because of the important role their MDAs play in the recovery of the Nigerian economy as well as the fulfillment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise of lifting 100 million people out of poverty.
She stated: “The diverse and severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt across the world with significant consequences on informal businesses and households that survive on daily income and the peasant farmers who depend on their farm produce to survive.
“This key population make up over 60 per cent of our entire population in Nigeria therefore, the need to cushion the effects of the pandemic on the vulnerable sectors through the provision of palliatives and stimulus package.
“The federal government has created several windows of interventions as captured in the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) inaugurated by Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, on March 30, 2020 to among other things respond robustly and appropriately to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, identify fiscal measures to enhance oil and non-oil government revenues and reduce non-essential spending.
“As part of windows of opportunity to mitigate the effect of COVID-19, the federal government is in the process of accessing a World Bank loan of $750 million on behalf of the states to stimulate the local economy and support vulnerable household’s consumption.”
The minister said the major role of the Federal Steering Committee would be to provide an overall policy direction for the implementation of the programme and advise the President appropriately, while, the Federal Technical Committee will be responsible for the programme oversight, overall guidance, support, coordination, strategic direction, review and approval of the annual work programme as well as budget for the Federal CARES Support Unit (FCSU).
According to Ahmed, the terms of reference of the Federal Steering Committee include providing overall strategic and policy guidance for the implementation of the programme; reviewing operational performance annually and provide feedback to government at both federal and state levels as well as garnering support for the operation as further specified in the operations manual.
For the Federal Technical Committee, the minister listed its terms of reference to include providing technical oversight and guidance for the implementation of the programme operation.
Others are reviewing and approving annual work programme and budget for the FCSU; reviewing project operation performance, accounting and audit reports and ensuring implementation of decisions taken by the FCSC; conducting performance review of key FCSU staff.
The terms of reference of the Federal Technical Committee also include garnering support for National CDD policy; undertaking advocacy and sensitisation of the Nigeria CARES programme to Nigerians, and approving amendments to the operations manual and the overall programme implementation plan for the operations as further specified in the operations manual.
Members of the Steering Committee of the Nigeria CARES Programme are the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba as Chairman; the Ministers of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD); Industry, Trade and Investment; Labour and Employment as well as Environment and Education.
Other members are the Permanent Secretary, Budget & National Planning (BNP); Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources; Executive Director, Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) Secretariat; and Chairman, Federal CARES Technical Team. The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) acts as the secretariat.