GO-CARES And Governor Inuwa’s Undying Quest For Human Capital Development In Gombe

By Yakubu Bayambe

Of all the parameters of development, perhaps, non is as cosmopolitan and far- reaching as that of human capital. This is because in expanding the spectrum of humanity through a deliberate and conscious effort, the social, economic, political and religious dimensions of human life are not only enhanced but improved upon to have a balanced and healthy society.

To achieve this form of an idealistic society where all men and women are given equal opportunity irrespective of their social, economic or political status, the administration of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, through the Gombe State 10-years development plan projected a wide range of initiatives aimed at institutionalising and placing the State on the path of sustainable economic development.

Among these initiatives is the human capital development which seeks to among other things accelerate more and better investment in people for greater equity and economic growth. I shall touch on some of these efforts so far implemented by the administration of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya in the course of this interaction. However the recent launch of the Gombe State Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus GO-CARES by Governor Inuwa Yahaya is perhaps one of the most ambitious empowerment programmes ever undertaken since the creation of the State. GO-CARES is the State’s version of the Federal Government’s NG- CARES aimed at expanding access to livelihood support, food security services and the provision of grants to poor and vulnerable households as well as firms following the devastating effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Under the programme, a total of 8.5 billion naira has been budgeted for the Gombe State Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus which is expected to benefit no fewer than 288,700 households, farmers and small and medium scale enterprises across the State.

Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya had while speaking at the official unveiling of the GO-CARES at Kuri village in Yamaltu Deba Local Government Area, observed that the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and livelihood of the people cannot be over emphasised. “We saw global economies enter recessions, livelihoods disrupted and millions of jobs lost in an unprecedented manner with recovery just beginning, this makes the CARES programme not only timely but essential. The Challenges of Covid-19 and the global economic meltdown have certainly made us to be more strategic and focused in our development drive”.

The Gombe State Governor added “As a government, this intervention perfectly aligns with our human capital development initiative as encapsulated in our ten-year Development Agenda for Gombe State (DEVAGOM). As an emergency recovery programme, the initiative will support our governments’ budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions specifically designed to expand access to livelihood support, food security and provide succour to the poor and vulnerable persons in our communities whose lives, businesses, jobs and means of livelihood have been distorted by the pandemic” In order to ensure maximum benefit from the programme, existing state-level delivery platforms with a track record of generating positive human capital development and economic returns for beneficiaries shall be used for the implementation of the interventions. The platforms will further be reinforced with a state level Steering Committee, led by the Commissioner of Finance and Economic Development, Muhammad Gambo Magaji with membership that includes political and technical heads of key sectoral ministries and policy heads of agencies constituted by the Government to provide oversight and policy guidance for the programme in order to achieve greater results and the overall programme development objective.

GO-CARES has a budgeted sum of about N8.5 billion which is targeted towards supporting not less than 288,700 beneficiaries in the two-year duration of the programme. From this amount, N3.4 billion will be for supporting poor and vulnerable households with grants and basic services, another N3.4 billion shall be used to support our farmers with farm inputs in order to increase food production and enhance performance of the food supply value chain. The sum of N1.7 billion shall be disbursed as grants to MSME’s to support their operational activities and help them recover from the huge losses suffered during the pandemic.

These groups and individuals will receive livelihood grants, social transfers, soft loans as well as improved access to basic services in order to support economic recovery, boost food production and enhance livelihood of the people.

The launch of the Gombe Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus GO-CARES, by Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya adds to the long list of social and economic interventions already embarked upon by the Gombe State Government.

Some of these interventions so far implemented by the present administration in Gombe State include the State Contributory Healthcare Scheme, (GoHealth) the Gombe State Geographic Information System (GOGIS), the Gombe State Security, Traffic and Environmental Corps (GoSTEC) and the Gombe Goes Green 3G project ( 3G).

While GoHealth provides financial protection against catastrophic health expenditures, GOGIS on the other hand focuses on redefining land administration with a touch of modernity and digitization. The GOSTEC is a social service unit created by the administration of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya to regulate the excesses associated with traffic and the environment. So far, the first batch of 500 able bodied youths in the State have since been recruited, trained and placed on the State Government payroll to maintain decorum in both the traffic control and the environment. As regards the 3G project, the administration of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya is of the strong conviction that an ecosystem devoid of the threats of climate change and global warming is necessary for a healthy and a balanced society. This was why Gombe State Government initiated the 3G project which seeks to plant at least one million trees annually. So far a well over 3 million trees have been planted across the State, in keeping with the Governor’s policy statement on environmental regeneration. It is quite instructive to note that social intervention programmes any where in the world are means through which Government opens up social and economic spaces for individuals especially those at the rung of the ladder to attain some level of economic prosperity.

In Gombe State, the administration of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya appears to have consistently placed premium on human capital development; Perhaps with a clear understanding that a people without a financial opportunity for economic growth may just be a catastrophic disaster waiting to happen.

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