One thousand six hundred and twenty eight poor and vulnerable persons in Abia are to benefit from the state COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) programme.
The State Commissioner for Cooperatives and Rural Development, Mr Donatus Okorie, made the disclosure at weekend in Umuahia.
Okorie, who spoke while declaring open a two-day step down training for 51 Local Government facilitators, lauded the Federal Government for initiating the programme which, he said, would help to stimulate rural economies.
The Abia commissioner also expressed profound gratitude to Gov Okezie Ikpeazu for keying into it to ensure that Abia citizens were not left out.
His word “This programme is special and impactful and would help to create effective demands, given that the beneficiaries will be empowered to pay for goods and services they needed.
“With our elementary knowledge of economics, we know that the programme will have multiplier effects on rural economies”.
According to him, the programme was laudable, even as he further expressed his delight on the initiative, adding “I’m excited that Abia is benefitting from this laudable programme.
“This is what democracy and good governance are all about and I want it extended beyond the initial period for it to reach a greater number of beneficiaries. It helps to provide the dividend of democracy and also give a sense of belonging to the vulnerable rural population.
“I hope that as the programme progresses, the number of Abia beneficiaries would be increased”.
The commissioner therefore urged the trainees to take advantage of the opportunity to contribute to the successful implementation of the programme in the state.
In his speech at the event, Mr Ejem Kalu, the Head, Abia CARES and Secretary, State Steering Committee, described the training as critical toward ensuring the successful implementation of the initiative in the state.
Kalu explained that Abia had six delivery platforms under the programme, including Cash Transfer, Labour Intensive Unit, FADAMA, Social Development Agency, Small and Medium Enterprises and Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme.
According to the Abia CARES Coordinator Cares in the state was designed by the Federal and State Governments in collaboration with the World Bank “to alleviate the harsh impact of COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable Nigerians”.
In his remarks, the Head, Abia State Cash Transfer Unit, Mr Okeziem Nwoko, maintained that the training was designed to build the capacity of the Local Government Cash Transfer Facilitators, Desk Officers and Grievance Redress Officers on the implementation protocol.
A cross-section of the trainees described the training as imperative for them to fully understand the implementation process and ensure its overall success.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.