The World Bank has expressed satisfaction over the implementation of $215 million Additional Financing (AF) of the Community and Social Development Projects (CSDP) in Nigeria.
World Bank Lead Specialist, Social Protection and Labour, Abuja, Mr. Foluso Okunmadewa made this known in Abuja at a two-day retreat organised for supervisory ministries and Board of Directors of the Community and Social Development Agencies.
According to him, “the World Bank is excited on the implementation of the initial project in the 26 States where it was implemented and now on the continuity of the community development projects and poverty eradication programmes by the states.
“We are also happy with the handlers and supervisors of the projects and the World Bank is sustaining the projects due to the conviction of the successes recorded. This can be improved upon to make it better and be beneficial to larger numbers of people. The managers of the project should be up and doing to ensure the success of the project.”
The additional $215m brings the total World Bank project to $415m after the initial $200m spent for the first phase of the project between 2009 and 2015.
Earlier, the National Coordinator, CSDA, Dr. Abdulkarim Obaje, decried the non-adherence to the use of approved poverty map by Local governments in the implementation of community development projects.
He revealed that CDSP commenced in 2009 and had recorded remarkable successes and challenges, stressing that the positive effects and influences on the participating communities in all the participating States had culminated in the Additional Finance (AF) and expression of interest to participate in the project by more States.
According to him, “the challenges of bridging inequalities in the country remain a major puzzle for policy makers. Nigeria has 774 local governments and 9572 political wards with hundreds of community settlements requiring one type of social and natural resource infrastructure service or another.
Our capacity as a nation to satisfy these communities has been undermined by the declining revenue from the government at all levels. This calls for strategic partnership between all the tiers of government with the development partners.”
He explained that, “original CSDP commenced in 2009 and closed in 2015. 98% of the total credit of $200 million was drawn-down from the implementing States and federal government.
“2,729 out of 3,220 Community Development Plans (CDPs) representing about 84% of the total CDPs reviewed by the Local Government Review Committees (LGRCs) were approved and funded from the credit.
“Also, out of 7,954 Micro Projects (MPs) contained in the approved CDPs, 6,554 representing about 82% were fully completed while 6,456, representing about 99% of the completed MPs were made functional as at the time of the formal project closure of the original CSDP on 30th September, 2015,” Obaje added.
He stated that some challenges facing CSDA include; slow pace of implementation of 2017 budget across the States, delay in government contribution by some States, delay in constitution of Boards of the agencies, frequent shufflement of local government executives among others.
Obaje suggested among others that, “States should demonstrate greater commitment to the project by timely payment of the government contribution and setting up the boards in line with law setting up the agencies.
“The use of the approved poverty map should be prioritised and the board should ensure that the Special Assistants are implementing community development projects based on map and in the Focal local government areas.”
The retreat was meant to update participants on the status of project implementation under the CSDP-AF, the implementation challenges and ways of strengthening the CSDP system nationally.