The Inauguration of Nigeria Cares (N-CARES) steering committee in Abuja
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.
Making reference to the windows of intervention, in her address at the inauguration ceremony of the Federal Steering Committees of the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N- CARES) in Abuja, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, noted that the federal government has created several windows of interventions as captured in the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) inaugurated by Mr. President, Muhammad Buhari on March 30, 2020.
The ESP is, according to her, 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.
Speaking on the need for proper implementation, Ahmed said: “To ensure that implementation of the N-CARES is in line with the federal government priorities as outlined in the ESP, the Federal Steering Committee, made up of ministers and permanent secretaries as well as a Technical Committee, made up of directors of key ministries, department and agencies (MDAs) has to be in place. The government has carefully selected you as members of the Federal Steering and Technical Committees because of the important role your MDAs play in the recovery of the Nigerian economy as well as the fulfillment of lifting 100 million people out of poverty.”
On the expediency of the inauguration of the committee, the Honourable Minister said, “the inauguration of your committee is expedient given the nature of this emergency intervention; Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa cannot afford to remain in recession; the survival of over 200 million population is germane to all we do and we must address the concerns of the majority of our populace.”
Considering the cause and consequences of civil unrest and COVID-19 in the country, she stated: “Let me remind you that the consequences will be too high if we ignore the root cause of rising civil unrest in our country. We must, therefore, fashion out ways of ensuring that post Covid-19 is not injurious to the Nigerian people and the economy.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, as members of the Federal Steering Committee, while your major role will be to provide an overall policy direction for the implementation of this programme and advise Mr. President appropriately, 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),” Ahmed also stated.
The members of the Steering Committee of the Nigeria CARES Programme, according to Mrs. Ahmed, are: Hon. Minister of State, Budget and National Planning (BNP) FMFBNP- Chairman; HMS – Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD); HMS – Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI); HMS-Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment (FMLE); HMS – Federal Ministry of Environment (FMEnv); HMS – Federal Ministry of Education (FME); Permanent Secretary, Budget & National Planning (BNP); Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance (BNP); Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs (MHDMSD); Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR); Executive Director NGF Secretariat; Chairman Federal CARES Technical Team (FMFBNP) – Secretariat.
The Honourable Minister read out the terms of reference (ToR), saying, “for your guidance in your assignments, your committee shall: Provide overall strategic and policy guidance for the implementation of the programme; reviewing operation performance annually and provide feedback to government at both federal and state levels; and garnering support for the operation as further specified in the operations manual.”
The members of the Federal Technical Committee inaugurated were: Director Economic Growth (BNP) FMFBNP – Chairman; Director-Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (FMARD); Director-Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR); Director-Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment (FMITI); Director-Ministry of Humanitarian, Disaster Management & Soc. Dev. (MHDMSD); Director-Federal Ministry of Education (FME); Director-Federal Ministry of Environment (FMEnv); Director-Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (FMWA); Director-Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment (FMLE); Director-International Economic Relation Department (IERD) FMFBNP; Director-Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS); Director-Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) Secretariat; Assistant Director-Economic Growth Department (BNP) FMFBNP; and Federal CARES Support Unit – Secretariat
Ahmed reiterated the ToR for the Federal Technical Committee as follows: Providing technical oversight and guidance for program operation implementation; reviewing and approving annual work program 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; garnering support for National CDD policy; undertaking advocacy and sensitisation of the Nigeria CARES programme to Nigerian; and approving amendments to the operations manual and the overall programme implementation plan for the operations as further specified in the operation manual.