Tunde Bolaji – Minna
A World Bank $140m grant to the country have been drawn by twenty nine states including the a Federal Capital Territory, it has been revealed.
However, to benefit from the programme, each participating state would determine the “poorest of the poor communities” based on certain indices provided by the World bank.
Among the indices are the level of infrastructure in the communities including number of educational institutions, health facilities roads and number of pupils enrolled in schools.
Similarly benefiting states are to counter fund the programmes with N50m every year.
The General Manager of the Niger state Community and Social Development Agency Malam Ahmed Yussuf Usman disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Minna on the first phase of the programme which would end next year .
He disclosed that the World Bank had given assurance that the scheme would be extended for another 5 years ” because of its positive impact on the participating communities and its ability to reduce poverty among the people”.
Usman said Niger state government had the potential to draw N1.2 billion but that the government had so far collected N778m in addition to counter funding the project with N150m in the last three years.
The General Manager disclosed that 120 micro projects had been executed in 20 local governments participating in the scheme pointing out that some of the projects executed included sinking of boreholes, provision of electricity, construction of schools and empowerment of women and building the capacities of junior and senior staff of local governments.
He however said execution of 48 micro projects approved by the Agency for the first quarter of the year had not started but gave assurance that the projects would start before the end of the year.
On the poverty situation in the state Malam Usman said Agwara and Rijau were identified as the “poorest local governments in the state” saying that the richest local governments ” are the urban local governments of Chanchaga, Bida, Kontagora, Lapai and Suleja”.
The General Manager said the major challenge the Agency is facing is ” how to meet the huge number of requests from communities” saying that ” as at today we have more than 1000 requests but we are treating them on first come first served basis”