Okon Bassey in Uyo
Eight hundred persons have been trained by the Akwa Ibom State Government in collaboration with the World Bank to implement community-based projects in 40 selected communities in Akwa Ibom State.
Also, over N50million has been be disbursed in the partnership 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 cheques to the beneficiary communities on behalf of the state government/World Bank, the stateâ€™s accountant general, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the funds and provide the needed basic facilities in their communities.
Andrew-Essien specifically tasked them to shun infighting, the laisser-faire attitude that it was governmentâ€™s funds and should be eaten, mismanagement or misappropriation of the funds.
â€œThis money is meant for projects and not for eating. This is the first tranche; use it meticulously and religiously and finish the projectâ€, saying the beneficiaries are expected to receive another money after inspection and satisfaction of work done on their previous projectsâ€, he stressed.
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.
â€œIf rural water is given at a go to 40 communities, or we give light, or we build a school block, you can imagine the massive transformation that will bring to Akwa Ibom communities. Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m so elated,â€ he said.
The accountant-general lauded 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.
Andrew-Essien stressed that the state government was at the verge of providing counterpart funding for the implementation of the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project, (NEWMAP).
Under this scheme, he said the NEWMAP will take away all erosion menace in our communities across the state noting that there are a lot of projects that the World Bank is providing the state with counterpart funding from the state government
The general manager of the AKSCSD, Mr. Ishmael Akpan said the gesture was part of the five-point agenda of the Governor Emmanuel administration which included wealth creation, economic and political inclusiveness, poverty alleviation, infrastructure consolidation and expansion and job creation.
Akpan said the training was to prepare Community and Project Management Committee, (CPMC) members to talk 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.
The general manager who delivered a lecture on the â€œRoles and Responsibilities of Stakeholders in the Community Driven Development, (CDD)â€, urged the participants to adhere strictly to the rules of the game; ensure team work; provide the necessary disclosures to the rest of the community members on the activities of the team on a regular basis as well as understand the contribution of their individualâ€™s expertise to the success of the projects.
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.