The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Tuesday distributed cheques worth N360 million to 24 Communities in the state as part of efforts to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the poor and vulnerable as well as ensure reduction of poverty to the barest minimum in the State.
Fayemi personally presented the cheques to representatives of the communities at the Government House, Ado-Ekiti.
He said the fund would focus on three specific result areas: education, healthcare services, water and sanitation.
The Governor stated that any government that is able to cover these three critical areas would have gone a long way at reducing poverty to its barest minimum, adding that the fund was in fulfilment of his promise and commitment to ensuring that every community in the State get a taste of the administration’s development agenda.
He said government was poised to continue to make meaningful impacts in the lives of the people.
According to the Governor, Ekiti State Covid Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (Ekiti CARES) programme was the aftermath of how the State was looking at ways to alleviate the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the socio-economic wellbeing of the people and support budgeted government intervention at the state level targeting existing and newly vulnerable and poor households like farmers, artisans and micro and small scale enterprises affected by the economic crises occasioned by the pandemic.
He stated that it was important to continue to invest in the people by promoting local ownership of projects, adding that when the people are allowed to build their own projects, they tend to also protect them because they see them as their own projects rather than government projects.
Fayemi urged all the community project management committees to be more active and accountable to their community as well as ensure that sustainable plans were put in place for the use and maintenance of the projects.
He also enjoined them to be more committed and selfless while discharging their assignments.
The Ekiti CARES intervention programme is an extension of the NG CARES, which is emergency programme aimed at supporting state level efforts to respond to and recover from the Covid-19 induced socio-economic crisis.
Fayemi said the NG CARES is an emergency intervention designed by the World Bank in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to support states in Nigeria to restore the livelihood of poor and vulnerable households and stabilise micro and small enterprises affected by the pandemic.
He said: “The Community Infrastructure Services for communities which have been the key delivery areas of Ekiti State Community and Social Development Agency (EKCSDA) for over ten years, has completed all the processes of facilitating 24 Communities/Group Development Projects amounting to about Three Hundred and Sixty Million Naira (N360,000,000) for the provision of infrastructural facilities in three result areas of Education, Healthcare Services; Water and Sanitation.
“This was made possible as a result of Five Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N550,000,000) which was released in November last year by our administration as an advance to kick start the program in Ekiti State, which is why Ekiti is the only State as of today to achieve that feat out of the 36 States of the federation.
“This is not by happenstance but in fulfilment of our promise and commitment to ensuring that every community in Ekiti State has a taste of our developmental agenda.
“When you entrusted the management of the State’s Commonwealth in our care, I promised and assured you all that your welfare and wellbeing will be of paramount interest to this Administration.
“We are here today to further strengthen the bond and deliver on another promise we made to Ekiti-kete.
“It is necessary to state here that the Covid-19 pandemic practically affected the global economy and dealt a deadly blow to the socio-economic activities of the nations of the World, Nigeria inclusive.
“The developing and emerging market economies are the worst hit.
“The lockdown and strict measures put in place to contain the domestic spread of the deadly virus had a severe negative impact on the livelihoods and food security of Nigerians across the economic sectors.
“You all recall in our first term in office, one of the hallmark of this administration reside in the fact that there was no community where we did not implement local projects.
“These were projects designed by the communities, funded by government but contracted out by the communities.
“Monitored by the communities, and in almost every single case, it cost less to implement those projects than it cost us as a government to implement similar projects across the state.”
Projects to be implemented by these communities includes construction/ renovation of Basic Health Centres, Blocks of Classrooms and provision of water from motorised Boreholes among others.
The event was attended by the Deputy Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Hakeem Jamiu; Acting Secretary to the State Government, Foluso Daramola; Head of Service, Peju Babafemi; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Biodun Omoleye; Chairman, Board of EKCSDA, Chief Biodun Akin-Fasael and traditional rulers of the benefiting communities among other dignitaries.