Benue State is indebted to Nigerian Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme (NG-CARES) to the tune of N265 million following the inability of the past administration of Governor Samuel Ortom to implement the  programme, the chief press secretary to the new governor, Tersoo Kula, disclosed this in a statement yesterday.

He said the state was unable to qualify for any benefit in the programme due to the failure of the Ortom administration to implement the programme a few years  but rather incurred a  debt profile of N265 million.

  Kula disclosed that with the success recorded by the implementation of the programme by the new Alia administration so far, funds would be made available for the state to pay back and qualify for the minimum grant  of N500 million.

“Governor Alia has received commendations from the World Bank over his role at ensuring the successful and speedy implementation of the Nigerian Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Program (NG-CARES) in Benue State.

 “The governor received the commendation when the independent verification agent team sent by the World Bank was in the state to assess the level of implementation of the programme,” he said.

He added that the NG-CARES programme is an initiative of the Nigerian government in collaboration with the World Bank to provide support to the most vulnerable households and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a remark, the team leader of the independent verification agents, Dr. Ayopo Olotu, commended the result areas of the programme for their cooperation, which according to him, had facilitated the verification exercise.

Receiving the delegation on behalf of the state government, the acting director general of the Benue State Planning Commission, Dr. Jerome Andohol, appreciated the governor for his support for the programme in the state.

He, however, expressed concern over interference in the program in the past by individuals seeking to manipulate the system for money, even as he appealed to such persons to desist from the act, saying the benefits of helping others would always come back in unexpected ways.

Also speaking, the state coordinator of the NG-CARES, Jacyntha Tor-Wombo applauded Governor Alia and Dr Andohol for their support for the programme,  acknowledging that although mistakes were  made in the past, it had become paramount for the stakeholders to retrace steps in order to ensure that the objectives of the programme are achieved.


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