Anambra has emerged the best performing state in the implementation of World Bank-assisted projects for 2017, in the South-East and South South geopolitical zones of the country.
This was revealed by the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr Rachid Benmessoud during the opening ceremony of the on-going Southeast/SouthSouth Program Portfolio Review exercise holding in Awka.
Anambra won the position having disbursed about USD13 million in counterpart funding for World Bank assisted projects and also for having a viable coordination mechanism for smooth implementation of the projects.
The two-day program portfolio review has as its participants, coordinators of World Bank-Assisted projects in all the states of the SouthEast and SouthSouth zones.
Declaring the event open, Gov Willie Obiano said the World Bank through its robust interventions, has helped the State address the numerous challenges it has in Education, Health, Agriculture, Community/Social Development, and Environment among others.
He said now more than ever, Anambra is in great need of support to enable it tackle the massive erosion challenges it faces, and commended the World Bank for its support already in this light.
The governor reiterated his administration’s commitment towards meeting up with its counterpart obligations for the full realization of World Bank-Assisted projects in the State.
The Minister of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed represented by Mrs Uzo Okoye said in partnership with the Bank, the Ministry has worked out key parameters with which to evaluate the impact of the World Bank assisted projects so as to engender a change in the way things were done before.
The World Bank Country Director, Mr Benmessoud revealed that out of the 1.2 billion US dollars earmarked for disbursement across various programs, about 440 million dollars remained to be disbursed, hence the need for the portfolio review activity.
He said among the issues identified to be driving poor implementation of World Bank programmes were lack of ownership and awareness on the projects, non-payment of counterpart funding by some states and absence of peer learning mechanism for information sharing, adding that the review exercise will focus on addressing these issues.
In an overview, a Senior Operations Specialist with the World Bank, Mrs Ngozi Udolisa noted that so much funds remain unaccessed due to the poor coordination mechanism of some states and harped on the need for the states to focus more on results to achieve accelerated implementation.
By Kingsley Ezekwelu