NG- Cares: ABIA Govt Starts Assisting SMEs With N5.9 Billion Grants

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NG-Cares: Abia Govt Starts Assisting SMEs With N5.9 Billion Grants

Abia State Governor, Alex Otti
A total of 6,500 small scale business owners in Abia State have benefitted from Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) Program (results area 3).

NG-CARES is a program designed to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of poor individuals, farmers, vulnerable households, communities, and owners of micro and small enterprises in Nigeria.

The program is subdivided into result area 1, 2 and 3. The result area 1 focuses on increasing social transfers, basic services, and livelihood support to poor and vulnerable households; result area 2 on increasing food security and safe functioning of food supply chains for poor households and result area 3 on facilitating recovery and enhancing capabilities of SMEs.

A total of 6,500 small and medium-scale business owners in Abia State are beneficiaries of grants amounting to over N5.9 billion under the NG-Cares.

This came to the fore on Wednesday at the Government House, Umuahia, where some of the beneficiaries held an appreciation rally to thank the state government for the grant received.

The beneficiaries comprise 5000 SMEs that will receive Matching and Operational Support grants ranging from N100,000 – N1,000,000 , and 1500 Abians that will receive IT Enhancement Grants in form of laptops, solar panels, POS machines, etc., cutting across the 17 local government areas of the state.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Multilateral Donor Agencies Coordination, Mr. Odinakachi Eric Eme, said the beneficiaries were selected in accordance with the guidelines of the programme.

He said,
“The exercise has been on for some time. The main idea of the grant was to serve as relief from COVID-19 pandemic for SMEs in the State. The beneficiaries are business establishments in the state.

“His Excellency gave approval of N5.9 billion for the program. This is the first of its kind in the South East. The money is coming directly from the State, not from World Bank for now. We can only get reimbursed when we must have done the right thing. This money is mapped out to assist the citizenry. If the program is done in line with the correct procedures, then we will be reimbursed.”

The Abia State House of Assembly, through the Majority Leader – Hon. Uchenna Okoro – has expressed its full support for the ongoing NG-CARES program aimed at empowering Abia residents in various businesses and fields. In a statement issued on the kick off of the program, the Majority Leader lauded the transparency and inclusivity of the program, emphasizing the Assembly’s active role in ensuring its success.

“We, the members of the 8th Assembly, fully endorsed this program from the outset,” the Majority Leader declared. “It aligns perfectly with our vision of empowering our young and aged Abians to thrive in their respective endeavours.” He further highlighted the Assembly’s crucial role in overseeing the program’s execution, specifically focusing on merit-based selection of beneficiaries.

“We actively participated in the enrolment process, ensuring that the grants reach those who truly deserve them,” the Majority Leader stated. “Our constituents, who have participated diligently, can rest assured that they have been fairly considered for this first batch of disbursements.” He also reassured the public that subsequent phases of the program will adhere to the same strict meritocratic principles.

Looking ahead, the Majority Leader revealed plans for further legislative initiatives aimed at bolstering the state’s SME and digital economy, aligning with Governor Alex Chioma Otti’s vision for Abia’s development. “We have bills in the pipeline that will provide even more support for these crucial sectors,” he said. “Our commitment to rapid economic empowerment and growth remains unwavering.”

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By Abia ThinkTank

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