GOV. SANWO-OLU LAUNCHES $20 MILLION ‘LAGOS CARES’ PROGRAMME FOR YOUTHS, WOMEN
Lagos State Government has rolled out a $20 million Coronavirus (COVID-19) Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (Lagos CARES) Programme to support livelihood for poor and vulnerable households and to expand food security services in the State. At the State House, Alausa, on Wednesday, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu launched the social intervention project that is focused on offering safety net to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of COVID-19 and also to building resilience of the State. The programme, which will be implemented for 24 months, is being funded through $750 million facility secured from the World Bank by the Federal Government for Nigeria-CARES project. Other states also benefited from the stimulus programme. Lagos CARES will directly support 20,843 households and indirectly support 125,058 individuals within the State. The programme encompasses three key result areas, including increasing cash transfers and livelihood support to poor and vulnerable households; increasing food security and safe functioning of food supply chains for poor households, and facilitating the recovery of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSMEs), while strengthening institutional support for coordination and delivery. Sanwo-Olu said the programme was designed to be inclusive and packaged to specifically impact women and the youth. Its implementation, the Governor said, cuts across relevant ministries, including Sustainable Development Goals and Investment (SDG&I), Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Finance, Wealth Creation, and Agriculture. He said: “Today marks another milestone in our effort to combat the negative impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on our households, livelihood, food security and businesses. The CARES project is an integral part of the national approach, adopted to alleviate the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic, and enhance the wellbeing of our people. “The Lagos CARES Programme will be implemented between 2021 and 2023, and will provide economic relief and recovery support to identified vulnerable persons. During the 24 months, the programme will directly support vulnerable households and indirectly support 125,058 individuals. There will also be interventions in 69 markets, while a minimum of 2,512 MSMEs will be supported.” To effectively implement the programme, Sanwo-Olu set up the State’s CARES Steering Committee (SCSC), co-headed by the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Sam Egube, and Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals and Investment, Mrs. Solape Hammond. Other members of the steering committee comprises cabinet members and policy heads, who will oversee the programme and provide policy guidance. The Governor also inaugurated the State’s CARES Coordinating Unit (SCCU) that will work directly with the delivery platforms of the three result areas for result monitoring and coordination. Sanwo-Olu expressed his confidence in the ability of the members committees, who, he said, had been part of the main drivers of the Government’s agenda for a Greater Lagos. He said: “I would like to remind the committee members not to lose sight of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of the State Government as they work on the three result areas. This administration will continue to collaborate with people of goodwill in the public and private sectors, multilateral and donor partners as we deliver good governance to our people.” Egube said the project would address loss of jobs and threat to food supply chain occasioned by the spread of the pandemic. He said the programme would leverage existing World Bank’s operations anchored on community-based approach and multi-sector interventions. On her part, Mrs. Hammond said the State would be implementing 10 Disbursement-Linked Indicators (DLIs) out of 11 across three results areas for impact. The programme, she said, will benefit 4,652 farmers towards driving up agricultural inputs and services, adding that 5,460 farmers would be engaged in agricultural assets for production and mitigation of food loss and waste. The Special Adviser said there would be provision of well-targeted conditional grants to co-finance loans for eligible 1,132 MSMEs.