Hard Economy: BOI flags off N-CARES program in Ebonyi


By Kelechi Nwoba

Bank Of Industry (BOI) on Friday through the Ministry of Business Development, flagged off the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) Data Capturing and Enumerators agents training for the Nigerian COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) in the state.

According to the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Business Development and the Focal Person of the State Nigerian-CARES,
Dr Steve Odo, the essence of the programme  is to assist vulnerable persons gain balance from the recovery of the hard economy situated by the outburst of COVID-19, the effects of which he described as inestimable.

Odo noted that every state is in fully participating in the programme and a certain amount of money has been mapped out from the US Dollars for disbursement to assist individuals and groups to pay up loans gotten during the heat of pandemic.

"The effects of Covid-19 is inestimable: we see the effects on daily basis, there have been lost of jobs, lots of revenue and the world bank partnering with Ebonyi State is saying that there is need to assist these businesses to be able to recover because there is so much loss of jobs,loss of revenue, so much loss of activities, loss of services across the economy.

"The Nigerian Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) program for results is a world bank assisted program with the Nigerian Government.

"In this MSMEs program, we will be making refund to loans gotten by MSMEs during the COVID-19 period.

"Anybody who has got loan as a result of the COVID-19, the World Bank will be assisting the person to refund part of the money that was borrowed.

"Every state of the Federation is part and parcel of this program: the 36 states and Abuja.

"The world bank gave a whooping sum of Seven Hundred and Fifty Million US Dollars($750,000,000). 

"Every state is supposed to get twenty million US Dollars ($20,000,000) for disbursement in three(3) different result areas.

"If you interact with people you will find out that a lot of businesses have folded but we believe that with the deployment of these programs, there is going to be a kind of revival across different sectors of the economy," he said.

Further, the Commissioner stated that the grassroots MSMEs are more prominent target beneficiaries adding that the strategic approach of the state Governor will certainly put pegs in their proper squares reiterating thus, "It is more prominent to the grassroots.

"What we are doing here is the training of the enumerators. It's not going to be a political compilation of lists.

"These enumerators who are being trained today by the Bank Of Industry will move into the rural areas to look at these businesses, take their statistics, capture them and the capturing process sends the data directly to the platform of BOI; it's not a hotel business or anything that is going to be done in any politician's house.

"What we are asking our people is that as soon as this program takes effect, every MSME should be ready to be captured and those who qualify based on the criteria that is going to be set up will get the fund.

"We believe that with this approach by the Governor in his pragmatic manner queued into, a lot of businesses will begin to survive."

Akan Ekure, the Lead Stakeholder Engagement also added; "The beauty of this program is that once you get this training, any other micro-economic intervention program the Bank Of Industry(BOI) wants to deploy in the state, they can still participate in it since they have the agents' training. So this training cuts across any other program we might have in the future.

"It will reduce unemployment, rather than plunging people into employment, they can supplement and pay their salaries like pay rents, light bills, etc.

"You need to be between 18 and 25 because since you are going to be in the field, you need to be agile to be able to move as the point notice and it's basically technology server because most of the work is going."

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