By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
Zamfara State has emerged the best performing State under the Federal government Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG CARES) Programme.
It has therefore earned the highest sum of N5.273 billion of the total sum of N43.5 billion approved for disbursement to the 36 states of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The North west state is closely followed by Bauchi state which received N4.232 billion Ondo state, N3.838 billion; Lagos State, N3.617 billion and Gombe, N3.396 billion.
Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba who made the disclosure at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday said out of the 36 States and the FCT that are participating in the NG-CARES Programme, seven States were unable to repay the Advance while One (1) State (Imo) did not earn any Result in the first round.
He further explained that if a State does not receive a reimbursement during the current round, they are still eligible for reimbursement during subsequent rounds, addingthat in order to qualify, states must adhere to set guidelines outlined in the Programmes’s Financing Agreement, Funds Release Policy and Independent Verification Agent Protocol.
He pointed out that, there will be more assessments and any eligible State or the FCT that meets these criteria will receive reimbursement accordingly.
“The results of this first round of assessment shows that States and the FCT are improving on their strides to alleviate poverty in line with the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari. The Programme has impacted over two million direct beneficiaries who are poor and vulnerable in the 36 States and the FCT.
“This is a testament to the success of the programme so far. You would recall that in order to ensure a seamless implementation of the programme and noting the challenge of paucity of funds faced by the states and the FCT, the Federal Government provided an initial advance of 35.3 billion Naira to all the 36 States and the FCT in March 2022 with a plan to recover the one-off advance during reimbursement.
“Within one year of giving out the advance, many states were able to achieve appreciable results and this informed the Federal Government’s approval to release earned reimbursement to the states and the FCT based on their outstanding performance,’ Agba said.
The Federal Government had approved the release of N45.3 billion as reimbursement to States and the FCT for the implementation of the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG CARES) Programme.
The National Coordinator of NG-CARES Programme, Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, made the disclosure in a statement by Information and Communication Officer, NG-CARES, Mr Suleiman Odapu, on Sunday in Abuja.
Obaje explained that the funds, disbursed on Thursday, April 13, were based on Results each State and FCT earned after a rigorous result verification exercise conducted by an independent Consultant.
FG Urges States to Provide Land for Irrigation Projects
The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev has appealed to state governments and communities to provide land that would encourage farmers to practice irrigated farming.
Utsev in a statement on Friday said this was necessary in line with President Bola Tinubu’s directive to cultivate 500,000 hectares of irrigable agriculture across the twelve River Basins to boost national food production.
The statement quotes the minister as saying this when he paid a visit to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State at the Government House Benin City.
The minister said his visit was to officially launch the 2023 Dry Season farming through the Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority.
He announced the commencement of nationwide dry season farming to meet the National food production targets.
He sought the state government’s approval of Title Deeds for acquired lands from communities in the state to facilitate the proposed partial commercialisation of River Basin Development Authorities.
This, he added would encourage Public Private Partnerships in key projects for the benefit of the public.
Utsev highlighted the ministry’s intervention projects in water supply, irrigation, dams, erosion control structures, and sanitation facilities within the Benin Owena River Basin Development Authority catchment areas.
The river Basin covers Edo, Ekiti, Ondo States, and Delta North Senatorial District.
In his response, Gov. Godwin Obaseki, while welcoming the team to the state, stressed the need for synergy between states and the federal government.
He commended the minister’s dedication and urged him to bring fresh perspectives to achieve shared goals.
The governor emphasised collaboration on efficient water use, also urged the Federal Government to consider state water agencies, highlighting the economic potentials of water resources across the country.
The statement quotes both parties expressing commitment to collaborate in areas of irrigation, water supply, dams, and programmes like Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene and Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Sanitation and Hygiene.
Obaseki presented the Alaghodaro Summit Souvenir to the Minister, recognising his visit during the ongoing Edo Economic Summit. (NAN)
Ebonyi Rice Millers Assure of Surplus Rice Supply for Christmas
The Abakaliki Rice Mill Owners Association has announced that there will be a surplus supply of products in the market during the Christmas period due to the bumper harvest experienced from 2023 planting.
Chairman of the Association, Linus Nkwuda told newsmen on Thursday in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, adding that the year’s rice production yielded good fruits.
According to him, the production in 2023 was better than 2022 because there was no flooding.
“We are experiencing bumper harvest; so, we expect more rice in the market for consumers this season.’’
On the price of rice, Nkwuda said the higher production would definitely push down the cost, making the product much more affordable for the people.
“We hope to have good supply to the market; we cannot predict the cost for tomorrow, right now, the prices are fluctuating on a daily basis.
“Currently, a bag of 25kg of the highest grade is sold between N17, 000 and N19, 500; we had a reduction in price in the month of October because it was sold between N18, 000 and N17, 000.
“A 50kg bag is sold between N38 and 32 depending on the grade; there are different species of rice in the market, we have Mass, CP, R8 among others.’’
Nkwuda explained that the price was also determined by the demand, adding that having an influx of customers in the market would make the price increase, but with high supply, the price would go down.
According to him, the market forces always determine the cost, especially during celebration periods like Christmas.
“But I hope there will be surplus supply to the market this year, 2023,” the Chairman said.
Plateau ‘ill Soon Become Nigeria’s Agricultural Hub – Mutfwang
Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State has reiterated his administration’s commitment to revamp the agricultural sector toward boosting the economy of the state.
Mutfwang said this on Sunday at the 37th Reunion Service of the Gindiri Old Students Association (GOSA), on Sunday in Gindiri.
GOSA is made up of old students of both Boys and Girls Secondary Schools, Gindiri.
The governor, a member of GOSA, acknowledged the critical role of the agricultural sector in revamping the state`s economy and promised to adopt a multi sectoral approach to resuscitate key agricultural programmes in the state.
He promised to achieve the feat through stronger and sustained partnership with relevant institutions in the state.
“My administration will place more emphasis on agriculture in order to boost the economy of the state, “ he said.
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