By Ikenna Aniagboso**
Anambra State emerged tops in an assessment conducted by the World Bank in the South East on execution and delivery of the Bank’s projects within the region.
This was unveiled on Sept. 25 at Governor’s Lodge, Awka when Gov. Willie Obiano received the 10-man Delegation from the Bank led by its Country Director, Mr Rachid Benmessaou.
While introducing his team, Mr Benmessaou explained that they were on a 2-day working visit to Anambra to carry out a review of World Bank Projects in the state for the year.
He declared that the ongoing Bank’s projects in Nigeria are worth about 10 billion dollars, with not less than 100 million dollars invested in Anambra State covering different interventions in agriculture and community-based development projects.
The country director expressed his pleasure at the handling of projects ongoing in the state, saying that Anambra emerged first in project delivery, monitoring, accountability and transparency in the 2017 assessment.
Mr Benmessaou also observed that Anambra would benefit more from the Bank as the institution had already resolved to execute about four more projects in the state.
The projects include rural electrification, rural access and agricultural projects and other intervention projects.
Anambra State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Mark Okoye, in a remark, thanked Mr Benmessaou and his team for their visit.
He expressed his delight at the Bank’s assistance as well as the trust reposed in the state to provide more funding to support new projects.
Mr Okoye observed that the Bank has been a vital partner to the state, contributing not less than 15 per cent funding to the annual budget of the state.
He pledged the support of Project Management and Monitoring Agencies of the state to assist the team as they embark on assessment of projects.
Gov. Obiano welcomed the team by expressing deep gratitude to the Bank for its funding support to the state.
“Your assistance has been germane to the achievements and successes recorded by the state.
“I commend your initiative through FADAMA to introduce an all-year- round farming in the state.
“Your initiative, Anambra State and Local Reform Project (ANSLOGOR), is equally important as it aids accountability and due process,’’ the Governor said.
Gov. Obiano commended World Bank’s Community Social Development Programmes and declared his interest to participate actively and assist in any way necessary.
The Governor, however, noted that it was regrettable that most of the farms sponsored by the Bank were among those submerged by the ongoing ravaging flood in the Agrarian coastal communities of the state.
He also drew the team’s attention to devastating effects of erosion in Anambra State, declaring that erosion was eating away the little land mass allotted to Anambra as one of the smallest states in the country.
Gov. Obiano urged the Bank to assist more in fighting erosion, pointing out that there are 976 active erosion sites in the state and the Bank is only involved in assisting in only 12 currently.
He re-assured the team that Anambra would continue to utilise Bank’s funding for World Bank projects and transparently too.
The Governor, then, appealed to the team to commit more funding to areas of dire need and save the state from impending disasters.
Gov. Obiano also thanked the team for their interventions in several erosion sites through NEWMAP and assured them that Anambra would continue to emerge tops in all assessments regarding the Bank’s funded projects, management and monitoring. (MOI)