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RE: NG-CARES Fund: Kwara State Government Sets the Record Straight

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The attention of the Kwara State Government has been drawn to some false and malicious claims by some opposition elements that the administration of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq siphoned over 20 Million Dollars NG-CARES Fund targeted at empowering more than three thousand small and medium scale businesses in Kwara State. This 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.

Fidel Info reports that this rejoinder therefore 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.

However, the state government would not allow itself to be distracted by the noise of the mischief-makers in NG-CARES implementation since the programme implementation is expected to continue after the reimbursement.

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Governance

Kwara’s AbdulRazaq Clinches Vanguard Newspapers’ Governor Of The Year 2022

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Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Friday night received the Vanguard Newspapers’ Governor of the Year 2022 Award.

Fidel Info reports that the award was presented in Lagos at Eko Hotel and Suites Victoria Island.

Commended for his institutional reforms in education and healthcare reforms, safety net programmes, infrastructural development, as well as his “purposeful leadership” that has seen people of the state benefit from dividends of democracy, the Governor won the honour alongside his colleague-Governors from Oyo, Delta, Borno, and Akwa Ibom States.

The award was presented to the Governor by former Governors Olusegun Osoba (Ogun) and Obong Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom).

The award also had other categories, which honored great Nigerians from across all walks of life.

Businessman Aliko Dangote won the Vanguard’s Personality of the Year Award.

On the Governor’s entourage were prominent Kwarans and leading members of the ruling APC, including Senators Lola Ashiru and Suleiman Sadiq Umar; House of Representatives members Raheem Olawuyi and Tijani Ismail; senatorial candidate for Kwara Central Turaki Salihu Mustapha; Mohammed Dele Belgore SAN; LUBCON Chairman Alhaji Jani Ibrahim; and Chief Femi Sani.

Equally on his entourage are APC House of Representatives candidates Ahmed Yinka Aluko, Mukhtar Shagaya, Ahmed Saba; and Alhaji Raheem Adedoyin, Otunba Ademola Adeoyin, among others.

The Governor has received several awards and recognitions for his outstanding performance since taking over in 2019.

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Gov AbdulRazaq Pledges Support For Kwara Young Talent Who Built Drone

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Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on Tuesday met with a Kwara young talent, Aliyu Musa, who built an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), also known as drone.


Fidel Info
reports that the meeting held at the Government House, Ilorin, in the presence of the Governor’s Special Assistant on Creative Industries, Abdulgafar Ahmed (Cute Abiola).

Musa, a secondary school graduate, used his skillset and resources at his disposal to build drones.

He had earlier met with the governor’s aide at Kwara State Stadium, Ilorin, where he flew two drones he built by himself to the amazement and cheering of observers.

In the meeting with the Governor, Musa was commended for his efforts and putting his talent to good use.

“What you have done is very commendable. Our administration recognises young people like you who make good use of their skills. That is why we continue to invest heavily in supporting youths in the state.

“Most of our projects and policies are targeted at the youths. We want to add value to their lives so that they can contribute to state and national development. We are building the Innovation Hub, Visual Arts Centre, Sugar Film Studio. All these are investments for the young people. We will continue to provide the enabling environment and right incentives for our youths to thrive in technology, entrepreneurship, education, and others,” the Governor said.

AbdulRazaq also committed to funding Musa’s education in order to hone his skills.

He would also be supported to secure the licence that will aid his talent.

The Governor had in the past similarly supported some young Kwarans who built and designed a plane.

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Governance

Again, LG Workers, SUBEB To Receive 1 Billion Salary Arrears From #2.5Billion Sure-P Refund

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The Kwara State Government is again set to  offset another part of the outstanding debt inherited from the past administration from another  refund of Sure-P on behalf of the 16 Local Government Councils in the State.

Fidel Info reports thatThe Honourable Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, Hon Lafia Aliyu Kora-Sabi disclosed that on the receipt of the refund, meeting was held with relevant Stakeholders  for appropriation and as well disbursements.

The Honourable Commissioner further disclosed that the Sum of One Billion was set aside for the payment  of outstanding arrears as done during the last tranche,Ex-Council Political Office holders (1999-2016) as well as pension and gratuity were considered.

Also some amount was set aside for Projects execution for all the 16 Local Government Councils.

It would be recalled that a similar meeting was also held among the Stakeholders when the first tranche of 3.5Billion was received.

According to the Honourable Commissioner, this gesture is a further demonstration of the transparency of the present administration under the leadership of His Excellency, The Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq non-interference with funds meant for Local Government Administration in the State.

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