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The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu, has commended the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) programme, emphasising its significant role as a support mechanism for states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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Bagudu said this at a one-day Public Lecture titled, “Social Protection in Nigeria: the journey so far”, in Abuja on Wednesday.

He suggested that the NG-CARES delivery mechanism could be extended to other programmes and proposed its expansion in resource-sharing among the three tiers of government.

Acknowledging the global challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bagudu lauded the World Bank’s contribution and praised the efforts of the Nigerian team.

The minister highlighted the timeliness of the event, coinciding with President Bola Tinubu’s recent directive to review the National Social Protection Scheme.

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Bagudu revealed that the Federal Government has allocated more funds in the 2024 budget to uplift people from poverty.

Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, the National Coordinator of NG-CARES, emphasised the administration’s focus on care for the vulnerable in the country.

”The purpose of this lecture is to do a recap of how we have come so far and see what are the trajectories for us to do even more for the poor and vulnerable.

”As we all recalled COVID-19 gave birth to the NG-CARES, but today we are confronted with more challenges that requires immediate interventions of the government at all levels.”

Co Task Team Leader of NG-CARES programme, Dr Lire Ersado, stressed the role of social protection in addressing food insecurity, climate change, and supporting Small Scale and Medium Enterprises.

Guest lecturer Prof. Suleiman Yusuf called on the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the Social Protection Bill into law.

He also recommended upgrading NG-CARES to an adaptive shock-responsive platform, regular updating, upscaling of the social register, and urged the government to ensure the sustainability and strengthening of the social protection program’s features. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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