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COVID-19: 1,600 people secure EU, Japan’s N500m grants

At least 1,600 persons and 630 small scale businesses have secured over N500 million European Union and Government of Japan’s grants to cushion the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic in Kano State. The Japan and European Union (EU) grants were targeted at specific individuals and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which would go long way in supporting communities badly affected by the pandemic. Special Adviser to Governor Ganduje on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Habibu Yahaya Hotoro, also the Coordinating Focal Person of the North-West Zonal SDGs Hub, said the programme would alleviate some fears of what people could face in ghe post-COVID- 19 period.

He said $1.1 million grant was slated for the exercise and was a cashfor- work arrangement for the 1,600 individuals and 630 SMEs. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in a letter referenced ORG/4071 and dated August 3, 2020, signed by Lealem Dinku, Officer in Charge, UNDP Nigeria and captioned; “Support to communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Kano State,” stated that; “The United Nations has undertaken several initiatives to support the communities affected by pandemic.”

UNDP said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused infections, deaths and untold hardships to the most vulnerable, particularly the urban poor in hotspot locations across the nation”. The letter sent to the governor continued; “It is in this regard that UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria in collaboration with the Government of Japan, has initiated a project to support selected vulnerable communities affected by the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 to minimise the impact of job and livelihood losses and to also help contain the spread of the virus.

“We have identified Kano State as key target state and will be working closely with your office and selected communities in implementing this initiative,” concluded the letter. Hotoro said: “Governor Ganduje, said our target should be the most vulnerable, he also made us open 500 new bank accounts for those who never benefited in any form of intervention in the past.” And he said all bank charges must be paid on behalf of those identified and selected beneficiaries, “All in an effort to effectively cushion the effect of the hardships caused by the pandemic,” he concluded.

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