Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State
By Adibe Emenyonu
World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved a $75 million concessional credit to the Edo State Government for its Growth and Employment Support Programme.
The approved credit would be in the form of budget support similar to that extended to Lagos State in 2011. The $75 million is a first tranche of a $225 million facility granted the state that will be spread across three years.
“Following the Board’s approval of a similar credit for Lagos State last year, this marks yet another milestone in Nigeria’s path to improving public service delivery through improved governance at state level and therefore contributing to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, who announced the support in Benin City weekend.
The credit according to her, was provided in recognition of critical policy and institutional reforms that the Edo State Government under Governor Adams Oshiomhole had undertaken to improve management of public resources in the implementation of an infrastructure-oriented development strategy and creation of a better environment for growth and employment generation, through a more conducive investment climate and higher quality of education.
“I would like to congratulate the Edo State Government for its commitment towards reforms and would like to urge the authorities to stay the course,” she added.
Responding, Oshiomhole said among the reforms by his administration, which attracted World Bank support on the improvement of management of public resources include the enactment of a public procurement law, sanitising the payroll through the use of biometrics technology for identification, use of an integrated financial management information system for budget management, improving transparency in procurement through the publication of contracts awarded, and strengthening external oversight by clearing the backlog of audited financial statements which overall had ensured value for money in the utilisation of public resources.
Other critical reforms, he noted include improving the investment climate focus via creation of a platform for a modern land information system that will be central to the process of streamlining procedures for acquiring property rights.
This improved business climate, the World Bank said, is critical to attracting investors to Edo State, and hence, to generating growth and creating employment opportunities.
The governor said his administration’s bold programme to rebuild schools and provide them with modern teaching aids has particularly elicited high marks from the World Bank.
“In education, the Edo State Government has been working on improving the quality of education so that the education system meets the demands and needs of the employment market. One key reform undertaken aims at improving governance at institutional level through the establishment of school-based management committees (SBMCs) in technical and vocational education institutions,” he added.