The Akwa Ibom State government, in collaboration with the World Bank, has trained over 800 persons to implement community-based projects in 40 communities.
The partnership, at the end of a two-day training session at the weekend, disbursed over N50million as first tranche payment for the execution of three projects each by the trained stakeholders of the beneficiary communities.
The project, which 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 one year.
Presenting the cheques to the beneficiary communities on behalf of the government/World Bank, at the E3 Event Centre, Uyo Village Road, Uyo Local Government, the Accountant-General, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, urged the beneficiaries to make use of the funds and provide basic facilities in their communities.
He advised them to shun fighting, the attitude that it was government’s funds and should be embezzled, mismanaged or misappropriated.
“This money is meant for projects and not for embezzlement. You see, this is the first tranche; you use it meticulously and religiously and finish the project, the people come for inspection and where they are satisfied, they give you another money, more development.”
Andrew-Essien enjoined them to use the money effectively, so that more money would come to their communities.
He hailed the management and workers of 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 development.
“If rural water is provided in 40 communities, or we give electricity, or we build a school block there, you can imagine the transformation it will bring to Akwa Ibom communities. That’s why I’m so elated,” the accountant-general said.
He praised Governor Udom Emmanuel for supporting the agency and providing counterpart funding that had resulted in projects.
Andrew-Essien said the Emmanuel administration was committed to development through provision of counterpart funding to donor agencies for the execution of projects, stressing that the government was on the verge of providing counterpart funding for the implementation of the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project, (NEWMAP).
“Under this scheme, NEWMAP will end erosion menace in our communities. There are a lot of projects the World Bank is providing in Akwa Ibom and our duty is to provide counterpart funding, which the governor is committed to. It’s for our development,” he said.
The General Manager of AKSCSD, Mr Ishmael Akpan, said the gesture was part of the five-point agenda of the Governor Emmanuel administration of wealth creation, economic and political inclusiveness, poverty alleviation, infrastructure consolidation and expansion, as well as job creation, hailing the governor for providing an enabling environment for the scheme to begin.
He said the training was to prepare Community and Project Management Committee (CPMC) members to take on the role of implementing community-driven development, particularly, as it had to do with the responsibility of monitoring the implementation of micro-projects by communities.