• Tony Igele

World Bank: FG Counterpart Fund Default Slows Down Projects in Edo State — Obaseki

GOVERNOR Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has attributed the slow implementation of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP, State Employment and Expenditure for Results, SEEFOR which are World Bank assisted projects in the state to delay in the payment of Government Counterpart Cash Contribution, GCCC on the part of the Federal Government.

The governor also attributed the problem to bidding process bottlenecks and training of relevant personnel for improved project implementation, just as he stressed the need for state contribution to be paid as at when due, provision of logistics support in the area of project vehicles as well as direct advocacy link with the state government.

Obaseki who disclosed this during a visit to the Country Director of World Bank, Rachi Benmessaoud, in his office in Abuja, said that the project which is for a period of 2012 to 2020 has not been achieved because of delay in approval of designs for selected new sites, implementation of Safeguard Policies in view of the category of the project. He noted that critical actions to improve performance are required for quick implementation of procurement activities for the seven newly approved sites, completion of all processes involved in procuring consultants for Safe guards as well as prompt payment of counterpart funds by state government when they fall due.

Responding, Benmessaoud promised that the bank would continue to invest in the programme against the backdrop that the little the governor has done in the short period in office was enough to convince them that Obaseki would do better if supported.

Earlier at the Edo State House, Abuja, Obaseki who received the Indonesia ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Purwanto, said the State and Indonesia were partnering in the areas of palm produce, industrialization, Agriculture, Tourism, among others aimed at generating employment and making the state an industrial and economic hub of the country.

The envoy assured that in no distant time, Edo people would witness the full presence of Indonesian technology in their soil in the areas of mining, palm produce, agriculture, tourism, solid minerals, among others.

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