STATE COVID-19 ACTION RECOVERY COMMITTEE INAUGURATED
State COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus, CARES, Committee has been inaugurated, to address social and economic problems occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic. Inaugurating the Committee, Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara E. Esu, described CARES, a World Bank Assisted Programme, as, “Mother of Necessity, put together to cushion the devastating effects of Corona virus pandemic”. Explaining that the programme is designed to re-focus attention on social investment programmes which include the YESSO and others that had been in existence, even as some may have rounded up their projects, they still have been found to be very necessary, again, as a result of the fight being launched against the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Economic Stimulus, looking at integrating back into the World Bank Assisted Programearrangements in the State.
“All the programmes are indeed, aimed at ensuring that we kick out poverty”, he said, putting it that, Cross River poverty line is at 36.3%, out of the National Index of 40%. While pledging government’s commitment towards reversing the index down to a single digit, Prof. Esu thanked the World Bank for the assistance being provided, even without counterpartfunding from the State Government. He therefore, enjoined all members of the Committee to show significant commitment in the responsibility assigned to them in driving the programme for the benefit of the citizenry and humanity.
In her words, Committee Chairman, Dr. Inyang Asibong who is also Commissioner for International Development and Cooperation, noted that CARES is designed to support mainly, poor and vulnerable households,even as she maintained that the benefiting areas included principally, FADAMA, Community Social Development Agency Livelihoods, Enterprise Development Funding, State Cash Transfer Unit and Public Work Fare.
In the area of Public work Fare, beneficiaries would be both skilled and unskilled youths from diverse backgrounds, who would be enabled to be able to eke a living for themselves”, she disclosed. The Commissioner who also outlined the Ministry’s objectives to include, protection of livelihoods and food security, as well as, facilitate recovery of local government economic activity in all the participating States across the nation, enjoined members of the Committee to passionately work to ensure that success is attained in the responsibility they have ahead of them Also commenting, Chairman, Cross River Community Social Development Agency, CRSDSA who is also member of the Committee, Mr. Toni Ikpeme, assured the State Government and the people, of the Committee’s readiness to serve with all amounts of seriousness and that members will work hard to put in place workable modalities that would ensure success. He noted that this is an important assignment that gives the members and government, opportunity to make the best use of the numerous World Bank Assisted Programmes being offered in the State.
The 13-Man Committee has Commissioner, lDC, Dr. Inyang Asibong as Chairman, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Felix Ekpeyong-Ita, as Co Chairman , with Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong Jr., Commissioner for Finace, Mr. Gabriel Ada, DG, CRSCTRA, Mr. Victor Edet, SA, IDC, Chief (Mrs.) Majorie Asuqo, SA, Enterprise Development and Mr. Julius Agrinya, DG, Smart City, as members. Others are, Barr. Rosemary Archibong, Commissioner for Commerce, Signor Omang Idiege, Commissioner for Youth and Skills Acquisition, Chief Monique Ogon, SA Diaspora Matters and Ntufam Okon Owuna, Comm. for Agriculture & Natural Resources.