By Bernard Tolani Dada Uyo
The Akwa Ibom government in collaboration with the World Bank has trained over 800 persons to implement community-based projects in 40 communities in the state.
At the end of a two-day training session the partnership also disbursed over N50 million as first tranche payment for the execution of three projects each by the trained stakeholders of the beneficiary communities.
The project covers provision of rural water, electricity, construction of culverts, school buildings, civic centres, rural markets, viewing centres and health centres will be implemented in phases within a period of one year.
Presenting the cheques to the beneficiary communities on behalf of the state government/World Bank, at the E3 Event Centre, Uyo Village Road, Uyo Local Government Area at the weekend, the state’s accountant general, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien tasked the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the funds and provide the needed basic facility in their communities.
Andrew-Essien specifically charged them to shun infighting, the laisser-faire attitude that it was government’s funds and should be eaten, mismanagement or misappropriation of the funds.
“This money is meant for projects and not for eating. You see, this is the first tranche; you use it meticulously and religiously and finish the project, the people come for inspection and where they are satisfied, they give you another money more development,” he advised them to use the money effectively, so that more money would come to their communities.
He commended the management and staff of the Akwa Ibom State Agency for Community and Social Development, (AKSCSD), for the strategy arrangement and effective organisation of the programme, saying the gesture would herald a development boom in the entire state.
“If rural water is given at a go to 40 communities, or we give light, or we build a school block there, you can imagine the massive transformation that will bring to Akwa Ibom communities. That’s why I’m so elated,” he said.
The accountant-general commended the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel for supporting the agency and providing the counterpart funding that has resulted in the numerous projects to be provided in various communities in the state.
He disclosed that the Emmanuel-led administration was committed to massive development of the state through the provision of counterpart funding to donor agencies for the execution of projects in the state, stressing that in the government was at the verge of providing counterpart funding for the implementation of the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project, (NEWMAP).
“Under this scheme, the NEWMAP will take away all erosion menace in our communities across the state. There are a lot of projects that the World Bank is providing in Akwa Ibom and our duty is to provide the counterpart funding, which the governor is committed to it. It’s for our development,” he stated.
The general manager of the AKSCSD, Mr Ishmael Akpan said the gesture was part of the five-point agenda of the Gov Udom Emmanuel Administration of wealth creation, economic and political inclusiveness, poverty alleviation, infrastructure consolidation and expansion and job creation, commending the governor for providing the enabling environment for the scheme to commence.
Akpan said the training was to prepare Community and Project Management Committee, (CPMC) members to take on the role of implementing community-driven development, particularly, as it has to do with the responsibility of monitoring the implementation of micro-projects by communities in the state.
He further said that the meeting was a capacity and partnership building planned to strengthen the participants as prescribed by the Community and Social Development Projects, (CSDP), institutional arrangements as well as letting the beneficiaries to know the basic indicators that any monitoring team look for during projects implementation.
Spokespersons of the beneficiary communities including Chief Henry Eka from Itu Local Government Area thanked the state governor and the World Bank for carrying them along in the development of their communities and assured of effective and prudent management of the funds.
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