Cross River State Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CRS-CARES) has adopted the state NG-CARES domesticated manual for the full implementation of the initiative across the eighteen local Government Areas. The State’s NG-CARES which is now called BEN-CARES was adopted by the participants at the Event NEGROIDHAVEN has confirmed.
At the unveiling of the programme in Calabar, Monday, Governor Ben Ayade who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Tina Banku Agbor, reiterated the commitment of his government’s policy thrust to industrialise the State for job creation and improved livelihood. Ayade who said his commitment to provide good governance to all citizens of the state especially those in the rural communities has been one of the focal points of his administration with various social intervention programs across the state.
On her part, the State Commissioner for International Development Cooperation, Dr Inyang Asibong, said the name of the program, “BEN-CARES”, aligns with the deep vision of Governor Ben Ayade for Cross River State. BEN-CARES, according to Asibong is an emergency program designed to support selected budgeted expenditure and interventions of the State, with special target on existing, and emerging, vulnerable citizens and poor households using agricultural value chains, and entrepreneurship development programs. She said the businesses and households affected by the economic crises resulting from the Covid-19 Pandemic remain a priority for the programme.
Dr Asibong disclosed that the Program has 3 result areas, one on livelihood, Agriculture and lastly on improving businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 and is supported by the world Bank. The commissioner, who further revealed that the Program is a 2 year program; stated that the performance of Beneficiaries will determine the shape of the project. ln addition, Dr Asibong said the programme is aimed at the Vulnerable people, the Farmers, Communities and Business owners.
In the words of Commissioner Asibong, ‘His Excellency Senator Professor Ben Ayade has always had one priority which is to make the life of every Cross Riverian better, hence the birth of the Action Recovery and Stimulus Program in the state.
‘The NG-Cares Program is a much welcomed program in Cross River state, we have renamed the program to Ben-cares in Honour of our Digital Governor. He has been a great Example of true Humanitarian, the program today is basically to adopt the Cross River state CARES Manual. We are ready, the program is a two year program supported by the world Bank and it will be state owned and l am very sure we will do well in Cross River state’, she maintained.
In his remarks, Cross River Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Tanko Ashang harped on the need to ensure seamless operations of the programme even as he identified platforms such as State Cash Transfer Program (SCTP), Public Workforce Program (PWF), Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA), FADAMA and the Directorate of Enterprise Development Funding (EDF) as strategic thrust for the implementation.
While adopting the Operational Manual, the stakeholders applauded the BEN-CARES team for their hard work and initiative in putting the State on the World map, before the Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Okon Owuna, seconded the motion for the adoption of the manual as a working document. The Generic Operation Manual (GOM) designed was made available to guide the State on the program implementation which had also been domesticated to reflect how the existing platforms operate in the State.
Also speaking, the State Coordinator of the State Cares Coordinating Unit, Mr. Chris Anake while presenting the Domesticated Operational Manual inferred that lots of people faced challenges on multiple fronts including food insecurity as a result of the COVID-19, adding that the NG-CARES is a severance to give support to those from poor and vulnerable households. He noted that the Operation manual will provide guidelines for the implementation of the programme across the delivery units, stating that the domestication and adoption will put Cross River State at the fore front and among the first States to be cleared for commencement.
Present at the event were the Council Chairmen, State Executive Council Members, top government functionaries, Special Advisers and other line MDAs who registered their support and administration for the BEN-CARES initiative.