Cross River Not About to Lose $30m World Bank Grant 

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By Bassey Inyang in Calabar

The Cross River State Government has stated that the speculation making the rounds that it was about losing about $30 million of the World Bank Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP) grant is not true.

The state government said this in reaction to insinuations that had gained grounds  on social media that  the state was about to lose $30million World Bank CADP investment because the state Governor, Professor  Ben Ayade, refused to sign the CADP list of successful candidates for training as beneficiaries of the programme because all “his candidates” alleged to be mostly  his family, members failed to make it at the interview stage.

State Project Coordinator of the CADP, Mr. Ducham Amah, said  the allegation  was not true as CADP got $26.5 million World Bank agriculture grant and much of the money has been spent on the project for which it was meant.

“His Excellency, Ayade has approved $1.7 million which is the embodiment of all outstanding that we have,” Amah said.

Amah advised the media and members of the public to always cross check facts before going public.

He explained that five states were chosen by the World Bank for the programme.

“The whole five states have the sum of $150 million and each state has $26.34 million while the national office has the balance. So it is not correct to say the amount is $30 million per state. Recall that we have done seven years after the first five years, two years extension was given and we have utilised much of the funds and if we implement what His Excellency has approved, we would have exhausted the funds so there is no story of saying some money will be left for the World Bank to take back.

“As I speak, the last approval or chain of approval the governor gave to us will absorb the whole money. If we have to continue with this programme, we have to ask for more funds and may be the state will also give funds from its counterpart fund. The reports in the social

media are malicious, false allegation and not what is happening in CADP. We have been commending the governor for releasing all the money through approvals and he understands what we are doing. The entire publication is false and fabricated. The state is not losing any money to World Bank because the total portfolio of the state is

$26.34 million, so we don’t have anything to worry about. The beneficiaries are happy and the state is happy,” he said.

Giving a breakdown of the fund, he said, “At the initial stage, 100 youths and women across the state as a pilot programme were recruited after due interview. The numbers were selected and sent for training and after the training, they were asked to prepare the investment plan and send to the World Bank office in Abuja which in turn sent to the World Bank. His Excellency has approved and released the sum of N247 million to pay for that first set of youths and women…Each beneficiary gets between N2.4million and N2.5 million and as I speak, all of them have received alert of this money as paid into their account as they get their service providers the money will be released in tranches to the service providers when it is approved by the beneficiaries. The youth jubilated when the money was paid.”

He said late last year the projects started the recruitment of another batch.

“What is happening here is happening in the other four states. Each state was to add additional youths and women so we advertised in two national newspapers and in the state Tender Journal in December. So the youths and women came for interview (written and oral). A total of 2800 of them came for the interview at the interview centres of Calabar, Ikom and Ogoja. Even after that those who could

not attend were given the opportunity to attend in Calabar. At the end

of the exercise, 1,570 were successful in the interview out of which the World Bank said we should select 600 from there to be trained and if funds are left we can take care of the other 970.

“The process that we used in selecting the 600 from the 1570 is what we call the random sampling method and was supervised by the Commissioner for Agriculture and some legislators. We forwarded the list of 600 to the World Bank and to His Excellency and two months ago he (Ayade) approved that list. He not only approved the list but has approved the sum of N85 million being the budget for the training of this 600 in Songhai farm and they are to commence their training this month,” he said.