Gov. Hope Uzodimma Flags Off Nigeria Covid-19 Action And Recovery Stimulus NG-CARES


Today’s programme is a historic milestone in the efforts of the World community, the federal government and the state government, to holistically address the devastating socio-economic effects of COVID 19, which has created a colony of a new poor in our country and indeed the world. This is a salutary programme that will sooner than later erase the devastation on the economy of the poor and vulnerable occasioned by COVID 19.

Let me, therefore, use this opportunity to salute the federal government, under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, for its unwavering resolve to better the lives of Nigerians, particularly the less privileged. This has been demonstrated time and time again through the various laudable intervention programmes of the federal government. The NG- CARES programme is therefore another manifestation of the government’s genuine concern for the less privileged. I must at this juncture, commend the World Bank for their support to Federal Government and indeed NG-CARES

It is self-evident that the devastating effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the world’s economy has forced many countries to restrategise on how best to save their populace from hunger and disease which are the direct consequences of the pandemic. Imo State being part of the global community is not immune from those challenges, hence today’s ceremony which marks the official flag-off of the state wide training and sensitization programme on Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (CARES).

This programme as we all know was fashioned to mitigate the local effects of COVID-19 pandemic on existing and newly poor and vulnerable households in our state. It is envisaged that within the next 18 to 24 months, the objectives of the programme would have been realized.

The project development objective is to ensure food security and safe function of food supply chains in the 27 local government areas of the state. This will involve three component parts, namely, distribution of inputs and service provision including seeds and fertilizer and livestock inputs and extension services.

It will also require agricultural assets for production and mitigation of food losses as well as upgrading water and sanitation in the markets.

The state government working with World Bank approved guildelines is driving the process. This training programme is only but the beginning and that is why those who are involved must take it more than serious.

On the part of government, we shall tackle the NG-CARES programme with the same zeal that we employed in fighting the pandemic itself. You can recall that the Covid 19 pandemic almost welcomed us into the office and through proactive measures and single-minded determination; we have been able to discharge our responsibility to Imo people.

It is reassuring that the NG-CARES programme is intended to assist the poor and vulnerable in our society. That is also at the core of the shared prosperity agenda of this administration. Since last year, we have evolved several policies to help alleviate poverty in the state. Apart from ensuring that verified Civil Servants and Pensioners are paid promptly, we have gone ahead to rehabilitate critical infrastructure including industries to provide jobs for our people.

Just last Saturday, we empowered 15,000 youths with Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand naira each to set up businesses of their own. Before then, women and other youths were similarly trained and empowered as a means of chasing poverty away from our state.

Again as a means of stimulating our economy, we are building roads across the state so that our rural areas would be accessible and the inhabitants can move their agricultural produce with ease to the urban areas.

We have also created the enabling environment for the flourishing of small and medium scale enterprises in our state as a means of eradicating poverty.

In this regard, the NG-CARES programme will complement our efforts to boost the economy of the state. Because this is a training and sensitization programme, those in charge should evolve innovative ideas that resonate with the ambition of our people to even swim out of poverty on their own. We should never forget who we are. We are resilient and industrious people who have the can-do spirit to overcome any challenge. All we just need is a little push from government to excel. That little push is available to all that sincerely require it. We shall continue to play our part to ensure the success of the programme so that together we should surmount the effect of Covid 19 just as we are overcoming the disease itself.

While wishing you a successful training programme, it is, therefore, my honour to formally declare this programme open.

Thank you all.

God bless Imo State.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Sen. Hope Uzodimma
Governor, Imo State

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My beloved Youths of Imo State, today is significant not only in your lives but that of this administration and Imo State. Today, we are taking a practical step in the actualization of our prosperity agenda. Our Shared Prosperity Programme is not just a mantra but a manifestation of our resolve to empower Imo People, particularly the youths, not only economically but also politically. By today’s event, we are making the statement as loudly as possible that when we talk of the youths being the future leaders of tomorrow, we mean every word of it. The only guarantee that the youths of today can truly be the leaders of tomorrow is by ensuring that such youths are empowered today so that tomorrow they can be economically strong to assert themselves as leaders.

How can the youths be the future when they are not sure of today? Because we understand clearly that our future as a nation and as a state, lies in the quality of youths we have today, we are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that we secure the future for our youths by providing for their today.

When I created the Ministry of Entrepreneurship, I was mindful of the fact that Government alone cannot provide direct employment to all employable adults. I was also mindful of the fact that the sure way of driving our small and medium scale enterprises is to equip our Youths with relevant skills that will make them employers of labour instead of job seekers.

It was with this in mind that I approved the training of Imo Youths in various aspects of vocations. My goal was to encourage them to unleash their potentials with a view to making a sustainable living without recourse to crime. I am happy that a record 15,000 of you are here as successful graduates of that scheme. Let me say it here that I am very proud of you. It is not easy to be patient to learn a craft in this present materialistic society that expects you to….BLOW IMMEDIATELY or ‘to arrive’ without sweat. The fact that you resisted the peer pressure and unrealistic expectations from the society to complete the training means that you will go far. Congratulations.

I am sure that in the course of your training, some people might have tried to discourage you, saying that you won’t have the capital to set up your vocations after the exercise. This government doesn’t believe in promise and fail. As you are leaving here at the end of this ceremony, you will be receiving an alert of N250, 000 each. With 15,000 of you, the government is investing close to N4B to secure your future. That is a bold statement on how important you are to this administration. It is a practical demonstration of the fact that indeed, you are the future of Imo State. That is the least we can do for a generation of Youths that are determined to succeed.

To those who are determined to succeed, this amount is more than sufficient. To those who have prepared to fail, this amount maybe meagre. But remember the Holy Book in Micah has admonished us not to despise the small beginning. What is more, ninety-nine percent of successful businessmen across the globe started small. How great a joy it would be for me that this seed money will give birth to millionaires among 15,000 of you.

My beloved Imo Youths, I will like you to take note of the fact that this is the first time in the history of our dear state that this record number of Youths are being empowered at the same time. It is deliberate. It is also going to be sustained. As you set up your businesses of barbing salons, hairdressing, painting and spraying, furniture making and sundry vocations, you will create opportunity for your colleagues for down-stream employment. This implies that the multiplier effect will have a salutary bearing on our economy.

You have often heard it said that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Keeping you busy will save you from temptation. Sociology experts believe that there is a correlation between unemployment and crime. So our goal is to get you employed and keep you away from crime. Do not disappoint yourself and the government. You must take this endeavour serious.

I will like to leave it on record that this empowerment programme is only but a part of a larger holistic agenda of massive empowerment of Imo Youths in all sectors. As we empower 15,000 youths today in different trades, we are also creating a conducive environment for your brothers and sisters who are desirous of furthering their education. We are investing heavily in Education from primary to tertiary levels. We may not have all the money, but we are determined to ensure that our youths are well provided for today, to enable them face the future with confidence.

Of what value are our youths today, who have neither skill nor education? How can such youths take up the challenges of leadership tomorrow? What shall we say we have bequeathed to the future generation if what we pass on to them are youths with neither skills nor education? These are the questions that agitate our minds as a government and that explains why we are relentlessly attacking youth empowerment from all fronts.

My beloved Imo Youths, I want to make it very clear that my administration places very high premium on you. The fact that youths are important factors in the overall wellbeing of our dear state can never be over stated. Youths are the engine room of any society. They are the bolts and nuts of a productive economy. They constitute over 60% of the active workforce of most societies. However, because the youthful age is always bubbling with energy, they can be deployed to use for things that can be good, bad or even ugly. This is where caution is needed.

It will therefore not be out of place to say that youths constitute the majority of the Criminal population in our society. From the arrests so far made, following the recent security breaches in the state, most of the suspects are youths. What this means is that if all the youths are gainfully engaged, criminality will be drastically reduced in the state.

Be this as it may, what is self evident is that as youths, you have a great role to play in the fight against crime in our state, I believe that if all of you, as youths, resole to commit yourselves to a crime free, peaceful Imo State, and you take proactive steps to achieve same, crime will significantly reduce in the state and peace will reign. Let me therefore use this auspicious occasion to remind you that to whom much is given, much is expected. As we have taken this practical step to empower you, let me enjoin you therefore to resolve that from today, you shall all become ambassadors of peace for a crime free Imo State.

As you go from here to begin your respective businesses or to improve on the ones you are already into, remember to always make yourself available to talk to your fellow youths to shun crime and violence, and to embrace peace.

In furtherance of this, I am delighted to inform you that as part of my government’s determination to engage our youths more proactively and make them more relevant, I will institute a forum for your yearly regular interaction in such a manner that you can cross fertilize ideas and build friendships that will help you in the task of leading Imo tomorrow. In this respect, I will also take necessary steps to encourage you to take up the role of playing advocacy for peace for a crime free Imo state. I am therefore delighted to dedicate the last Saturday in June every year as Imo Youth Day. This will be especially reserved for the celebration of our youths. In this regard, Youths from different youth organizations across the state, shall gather on that date, every year to celebrate themselves.

Part of the celebration shall be to select a Youth Peace Ambassador of the Year, who shall be the symbol of Imo Youths for peace for that year. The ministry of Youths and Sports Development will work out the details of this programme in liaison with all the registered youth organisations in the state. In addition, the platform shall also be a veritable forum for youths to make their voices heard in the governance of the state.

I can’t end this address without an appeal to my beloved youths of Imo State to shun all forms of violence. Please refrain from being willing tools in the hands of desperate and disgruntled elements who don’t mean well for our state. Your lives matter to me. Your future matters to the government and your parents. Don’t allow mercenaries and buccaneers destroy your future with pittance. If you work hard, you will make it.

I see future Presidents, Governors, and Senators in your midst. I see very successful entrepreneurs among you. I see a great future for Imo youths.

My responsibility as you Governor is to create the enabling environment that can help you get to that great future. Your own duty is to play by the rules of positive engagement, and you will get there. Do not let anyone spoil your chances of getting to that great, glorious future.

Thank you all.

God bless Imo youths

God bless Imo State

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Sen. Hope Uzodimma
Governor, Imo State

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