By Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
The World Bank has promised to assist the Ogun State Government in the areas of good governance and socio-economic development.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Ogun State Governor, Kunle Somorin quoted the World Bank as stating this during a meeting between Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State and the country representatives of the global bank.
“Going by the number of floods that have ravaged some parts of Abeokuta, Ijebu Ode and other towns across Ogun West, the state government also received some succour from the World Bank, the Chief Press Secretary added.
According to Somorin, the World Bank Country Director, Rachid Benmessaoud, said the global financial institution thought it wise to assist a number of people affected by the recent flooding in the state, as enunciated by the Governor, having requested for the bank’s assistance.
While granting the governor’s request, the World Bank announced that Ogun State had been considered among other states in Nigeria that will benefit from a $900m intervention fund on ecological challenges.
“The World Bank’s assistance will serve as a timely succour to the affected families and towns across the Gateway State.
“Also, the bank is currently partnering with Ogun State on a number of initiatives like the Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP) which is aimed at providing an institutional and logistic framework for a private-public partnership engagement and in the areas of rural road construction and agricultural development.
“Some of the programmes which the World Bank had keyed into include: Community and Social Development Programme; Saving One Million Lives Programme: Basic Healthcare Provision Fund; State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme. Others include the Rural Access and Mobility Programme, Nigeria for Women and the PPP”, the statement added.
According to Governor Abiodun, these are critical projects that would enhance the welfare of our people and also contribute immensely to his “focussed and qualitative governance” agenda in Ogun State.
The governor emphasised that he had outlined a number of bills to be sent to the State Assembly for approval as this would give necessary legal teeth to the proposed programmes, thereby bringing the dividends of democracy to the good people of the state.
“Some of these proposed laws are on the Ogun State Investment Promotion Agency, the PPP to attract and secure private investments into Ogun State.
“Since infrastructural development will strengthen the investment drive of our administration, we are equally setting up a Public Works Agency to boost local capacity and also make Ogun State Security Trust Fund more vibrant since investment cannot thrive without peace and security,” Governor Abiodun said.
He promised to restructure the accounting processes in the state and ensure that the unwieldy over 800 accounts he inherited are “streamlined into a reasonable one where principal officers can access a dashboard of incomes and expenditures.”
The World Bank team, led by Benmessaoud, commended the foresight of the Dapo Abiodun administration, warning that it should look into the indices that made the state’s healthcare fall by 10.5% between 2015 and 2018.
“Surveys conducted in 2015 and 2018 saw Ogun State regressed by 10.5%, whereas Yobe State got $30m for its exemplary public health initiatives from the World Bank. Osun also did very well and was rewarded with $20m,” Benmessaoud revealed.
The World Bank advised Ogun State to work towards ensuring “strong leadership and accountability” so as to reverse its dwindling fortunes in the health sector.
It also noted the fact that the Ministry of Health and the Primary Healthcare Development Agency should be reinvigorated and “it is expedient to have a State Social Health Insurance Agency.”