By Solomon Umanah
The Akwa Ibom government has re-affirmed its commitment at ensuring constant provision of social welfare for all citizens as well as massive development of the state.
The commissioner for economic development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr Emem Bob, who stated this, recently, during the flag-off of disbursement of funds to beneficiaries under the Social Transfer 1.1 delivery platform of the AK-CARES at the Women Development Centre, Uyo, said the bi-monthly disbursement of the funds was aimed at cushioning the ravaging effect of Covid-19 pandemic on the citizens of the state, particularly the poor and other vulnerable persons.
Bob, who is chairman, State Steering Committee of the Akwa Ibom Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (AK-CARES) programme, thanked Gov Udom Emmanuel for granting approval for the disbursement of funds to the beneficiaries.
While commending the Federal Government and the World Bank for initiating such life-touching programme for the people, the AK-CARES chairman urged the beneficiaries to make effective use of the funds given to them.
He also solicited support from Akwa Ibom people towardsGovernor Emmanuel’s succession agenda by ensuring that the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor Umo Eno, and the rest of the PDP candidates were given massive support during the 2023 general elections.
In her speech, the commissioner for women affairs and social welfare, Dr Ini Adiakpan, said the Social Transfer Programmewas billed for one year with monthly allocation of N10,000 that will be transmitted to the beneficiaries’ bank account on bi-monthly basis.
Adiakpan described payment of funds to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts as the climax of the AK-CARES programme andlauded Governor Emmanuel and wife, Dr Martha Emmanuel, for their compassionate disposition toward the poor and other vulnerable persons in the state as evidenced in the numerous life-transforming programmes and projects embarked upon by duo.
She recalled the devastating effect of Covid-19 pandemic which, she observed, had ravaged the entire world economy leaving the poor and vulnerable persons as the most affected victims globally.
The women affairs boss, who advised the beneficiaries to cultivate the habit of savings in order to better their lots, urged them to give maximum support to Governor Emmanuel’s succession agenda by giving total support to all PDP candidates during the 2023 general elections in the state.
Earlier in her welcome address, the head of Social Transfer Unitof the AK-CARES programme, Deaconess Christiana Akpan, said the event was organized to mark the commencement of payment of monies to the beneficiaries’ individual bank accounts on bi-monthly basis.
Akpan, who expressed appreciation to Governor Emmanuel and wife, Martha, for their love and care toward the poor and other vulnerable persons in the state, urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the funds to improve their living conditions.
Giving a brief overview of the AK-CARES programme in the state, the head, State CARES Coordinating Unit, Mrs EnobongOkpongkpong, said the AK-CARES programme had nine platforms in reaching out to the targeted beneficiaries among which the Social Transfer 1.1 delivery platform belongs, adding that other platforms were targeted towards revitalization of collapsed businesses, assistance to farmers to ensure steady food supply, provision of public conveniences and boreholes at various market places across the state, as well as construction of feeder roads in the rural communities, among other intervention packages.
Okpongkpong lauded the state governor and members of the State Steering Committee of the AK-CARES for ensuring effective implementation of the programme, saying about 3,000 persons were mined from the state’s social register out of which only the current beneficiaries were fortunate enough to be included in the list, while others passed on before the disbursement of the funds.
In his goodwill message, the state focal person for National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), Dr Godwin Akpan, lauded Governor Emmanuel for partnering the federal government to attract democracy dividends to the people of the state through various social investment programmes initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in the country.
Akpan commended the head of Social Transfer Unit of the AK-CARES, Deaconess Christiana Akpan and her team “for doing a great job that has resulted in the disbursement of funds to the beneficiaries,” adding “there is no better time for this transferthan now, owing to the current economic realities of the time.
Goodwill messages were equally received from the representative of First Bank Plc, the Payment Service Provider for the Social Transfer Unit, Mr Evara Ritman, as well as the representative of the beneficiaries, Apostle Uwem Akpan, among others.