Aregbesola Lauds Impact Of EU-WB Assisted SLOGOR Project On Public Finance

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola has lauded the State Government’s ability to meet the constitutional requirement of submitting the audited report of the State 2016 Financial Statement to the State House of Assembly within six months from the end of the financial year, due to the intervention of European Union/World Bank Assisted State and Local Governance Reform (SLOGOR) Project.

Aregbesola who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola made this known in his opening remarks at the Policy Dialogue during the SLOGOR Project Mid-Term Review with the World Bank Delegation and key Government officials.

Oyetola said that: “SLOGOR has in no small measure contributed to reforming Public Financial Management in the State.

According to him, meeting the deadline for the preparation of the 2016 Financial Statement of the State Government on IPSAS Accrual (First Time Adoption) was among the laudable achievements credited to SLOGOR intervention”.

He listed other achievements recorded with SLOGOR Intervention on Public Financial Management reform to include: Conduct of Annual Audit Forum, Passage of the Public Procurement Law, and Establishment of the Public Procurement Agency etc.

Oyetola further stated that the State of Osun is one the States in Nigeria that prioritized reforms that focused on poverty reduction.

According to him, the results of all reforms implemented in the State, contributed immensely to the rating of the State as one of the States in Nigeria with the lowest poverty index according to the recent ranking by the National Bureau of Statistics.

In the same vein, the Task Team Leader (TTL) of SLOGOR, Ikechukwu Nweje, disclosed that the objective of the Mid-Term Review was basically to take stock of what is working well with the Project and identify areas that require improvement.

Mr. Nweje requested the State to ensure early submission of Workplan and Procurement Plan for prompt clearance by the World Bank.

The SLOGOR National Project Coordinator, Mr. Samuel Elohor also in his remarks expressed his happiness for the commitment of the State Government of Osun towards achieving the PFM objectives.

Mr. Elohor encouraged the State to provide necessary support for all donor supported projects in the State. He particularly, praised the Governor for paying the counterpart contribution for EU/UNICEF Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme.

In his welcome address, the State Project Coordinator, Mr. Yemi Ijidele commended the State Government of Osun under the leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for providing the right environment and political will for attracting donors to the State.

He also appreciated the assistance of the European Union and World Bank for their commitment towards banishing poverty and strengthening public financial management in the State of Osun and Nigeria at large.

Buhari’s Discussion With World Bank Boss Deliberately Twisted – FG

President Muhammodu Buhari’s discussion with World Bank boss, Jim Youg Kim was deliberately twisted by mischief makers to score cheap political point, a statement has said.

Buhari’s media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina said the president is a father for all and he would not favour one region above the others.

Read the full statement below:

“Those who specialize in a deliberate twisting of information have wailed and raged endlessly on the news item credited to the World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, who disclosed in Washington DC, United States of America, that President Muhammadu Buhari had requested a concentration of the Bank’s intervention efforts in the northern part of Nigeria, particularly in the North-east.

The ignorant and mischievous people, who twist everything for their vile purposes, are making it seem that it was a calculated attempt to give the North an unfair advantage over other parts of Nigeria.

The truth of the matter is that President Buhari, right from his first week in office in June, 2015, had reached out to the G-7 in Germany that Nigeria needed help to rebuild the North-east, which had been terribly devastated by insurgency. He said the country would prefer help in terms of rebuilding of infrastructure, rather than cash donation, which may end up being misappropriated. In concert with Governors of the region, a comprehensive list of needed repairs was sent to the G-7 leaders.

 

Also, during a trip to Washington in 2015, and many other engagements that followed, President Buhari sought the help of the World Bank in rebuilding the beleaguered North-east, which was then being wrested from the stranglehold of a pernicious insurgency. It was something always done in the open, and which reflected the President’s concern for the region.

Those ululating over the disclosure by the President of the World Bank should be a bit reflective, and consider the ravages that the North-east has suffered since 2009, when the Boko Haram insurgency started. Schools, hospitals, homes, entire villages, towns, cities, bridges, and other public utilities have been blown up, laid waste, and lives terminated in excess of 20,000, while widows and orphans littered the landscape. The humanitarian crisis was in monumental proportions.

President Buhari simply did what a caring leader should do. He took the battle to the insurgents, broke their backs, and then sought for help to rebuild, so that the people could have their lives back. Should that then elicit the negative commentary that has trailed the disclosure from the World Bank? Not at all, except from insidious minds.

President Buhari has a pan-Nigerian mandate, and he will discharge his duties and responsibilities in like manner. Any part of the country that requires special attention would receive it, irrespective of primordial affinities, which narrow minded people have not been able to live above. This President will always work in the best interest of all parts of the country at all times. Let ethnic warriors sheathe their swords.”

World Bank Assures Support For Enhanced Child Development In Nigeria

Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director, Nigeria, made the promise at the on-going National Early Childhood Development conference on Wednesday in Abuja with the theme “Investing early in every Nigerian child.”

The World Bank has pledged its sustained support to the Nigerian Government to ensure quality health and development of children

Benmessaoud who noted that investing in policies and programme of childhood development as critical toward the actualisation of SDGs, however, said that it required collective or concerted efforts of all and sundry.

“The World Bank is committed to supporting the effort of the government of Nigeria in ensuring that every Nigerian child reaches his or her potential.

“This potential can be achieved by addressing the problem of inequality at birth and responding to the welfare rights of every child to access adequate nutrition, live in safe and secure environments and access to stimulation and learning opportunities.

“Investing in children is morally right and economically safe, so we need to ensure that every child is loved, care for in terms of adequate nutrition and education.

“The issue of early childhood development is central to national development and it is the basis for future learning and enhance the child’s ability to be patient and leads to large term gain,” he said.

The conference was aimed at creating awareness on the meaning and importance of the early years of a child from conception to five years in early childhood nutrition, education and development.

Similarly, Mrs Barbara Ayisi, Deputy Minister Basic Education, Ghana described early childhood development as the foundation of other levels of development.

Ayisi emphasised that investing in them early would enhance school readiness, among others.

“Life is not about us but about our children so if we start raw we get raw and if we start right we get it right in every facet of the society.

“Ghana has free education for its high school children Nigeria should emulate this as it will in a long way boost the nation’s development,” she said.

W’Bank Wants Nigeria On Africa’s Mining Map Again

After years of being left out on from the mining mad, the World Bank has said Nigeria deserves to be on the African mining map again

It said the country would boost its economic fortunes and further create good jobs for its teeming populace if the mining model was holistically revisited with the aim of transforming the subsector.

The Senior Mining Specialist, Energy and Extractive Industries at the World Bank, Francisco Igualada, said this, adding that, “In Nigeria, we have managed to develop a real ‘partnership’ with the Federal Government and we are still working along with some of the states that have higher mining potential.”

Igualada also said, “The World Bank follows a kind of value chain that brings those countries we support from non-renewable resources to a stage in which sustainable development may take place. Each country has its own idiosyncrasies/characteristics.

“I am particularly excited about two projects – our critical involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo in support of the rationalisation of the sector through nearly five years as well as my responsibility in managing our recently approved $150m loan project for developing the Nigerian mineral sector and diversifying it from its dependency on other sectors like oil and gas.

“This is as President Muhammadu Buhari has clearly indicated in his inaugural speech, two sectors needing continuous development in Nigeria – agriculture and mining.”

From the bank’s side, Igualada said he was looking forward to contributing to transforming the potential resources into some tangible exploration and exploitation mineral projects, thus bringing economic prosperity and jobs.

“Nigeria is the first African economy and really needs the employment that mining and all types of value-chain including local content can bring,” he stressed.

He said, “We need to get it right and this means that a strong sector foundation is a must. Afterwards, facilitating downstream sector developments and the enhancement of competitiveness need to happen as a logical result.”

 

Osun Lawmaker Donates Cash To Constituents To Partner With World Bank

A lawmaker representing Ife North State Constituency in Osun State House of Assembly, Hon. Tunde Olatunji, has donated one million naira to his constituency in order to aid the accessment of Community and Social Development Projects (CSDP) social welfare projects.

Olatunji who explained that the donation will serve as counterpart fund to aid his constituents for them to be able to partner with the CSDP and World Bank to build a multi million naira Civic Centre in Edunabon town, donated a cheque of #770,000.

‎He said he donated the requested N770, 000 for the construction while the balance of about #300,000 will power the purchase of furniture.

Olatunji said “As lawmakers, it is incumbent on us to give adequate representation to our constituents. We should be able to identify their needs and ensure we contribute our own quota to the development of our constituencies.

“We are going to break the jinx of years of not having a befitting civic centre in this town”.

While appreciating the CSDP and the state government of Osun, the lawmaker praised the present administration for making the welfare of people its focus.

He then urged people of his constituency to support the present administration in the state in his quest to reposition the state for socio-economic development.

Kwara To Access $60m From World Bank – Ahmed

The Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, on Tuesday said the state government will access the $60m loan from the World Bank for rural roads across the state.

He stated that the fund would be specifically utilised to deploy infrastructure to agrarian communities to ease movement of agricultural produce with a view to improving the state economy.

Ahmed spoke in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, during a Sallah homage paid to him by traditional rulers from Kwara North, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary,  Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba.

The governor also said the Federal Executive Council had approved the rehabilitation of Share-Patigi Road.

He stated that the old Ilorin- Jebba Road was currently undergoing rehabilitation while works on the Tsaragi-Shonga Road would soon start.

The governor, who applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for making the state feel federal presence, also appealed to the Federal Government to make funds available for the completion of the ongoing rehabilitation of federal roads in the state especially the Kaiama-Kishi Road.

He promised a major rehabilitation of roads in Kwara North, saying that the region was known for its agricultural activities.

Ahmed said,  “Agriculture is a major critical sector for the diversification of the economy which is receiving the needed attention of the Federal Government.

“The state will also continue to partner others in providing infrastructure to support agric-business in the state.”

The governor called on traditional rulers in the state to be part of advocate for local government councils in the state to look beyond federal allocation to meet their statutory responsibilities.

He said,  “The federal government has shown the lead in diversification of the nation’s economy by encouraging investment in agriculture.

“Every other arm of government should follow this laudable initiative of the government. The state will continue to give support to agriculture as another source of revenue generation.

The governor restated his commitment to ensure that all sections of the state were duly represented in appointments of key government functionaries and distribution of social amenities and infrastructural facilities.

Earlier, Etsu Patigi, Alhaji Ibrahim Chatta-Umar, had  thanked the governor for his continuous support for the people of Kwara North especially in appointments and provision of infrastructure.

 

Source: Punch

300 To Benefit From $200m World Bank Grant In Osun

In a bid to boost food security, the Osun State government, in partnership with the World Bank has trained over 300 youths across the state on the FADAMA III programme.

Tagged FADAMA III AF Graduate Unemployed Youth and Women Support (FADAMA GUYS), the programme was designed to educate the youths on both theory and practical procedures in getting the best from various agricultural enterprises. The programme also focused on building the participants’ knowledge and capacity in managing their farming businesses if supported by the government.

The training programme afforded the participants drawn all council areas of state the opportunity to get first-hand training from experts in the agriculture sector. The participants were taught the rudiments of soil, fish farming, crop production, animal husbandry and other practical trainings as well as research experiments.

The programme, which held from July 17 to 28, also provided the participants a platform to write examination and business plans to be sent to the national headquarters of the World Bank in Nigeria to ensure they benefitted from the agency’s $200 million grant facilitated by the Osun State government.

At the closing ceremony held at the Conference Room of the Faculty of Agriculture, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, where certificates were presented to the participants, representatives of the state government and technical facilitators for the training took turns to advise them. The programme Manager, FADAMA III AF in Osun State, Dr. Ganiyu Adediji, said the training was the first step in selecting the beneficiaries of the World Bank grant.

According to him, only 200 out of the 300 that participated in the programme will be shortlisted to benefit from the $200 million World Bank grant to begin their own businesses based on what they had learnt during the two-week capacity building programme.

Dr. Adediji urged the FADAMA GUYS to be proactive, resilient and put in good use the knowledge they had gained from the experts in order to make an impact in the society and be of benefit to themselves and their immediate families.

He, however, praised Governor Rauf Aregbesola for sustaining the programme, warning participants against sharp practices when utilising the funds to be given them as support grants.

The Programme Manager and Managing Director of Osun State Agricultural Development Corporation (OSSADEP), Alhaji Mukaila Omisore, who noted that the benefits of boosting national food security could not be understated, said  a nation that is not capable to feeding its citizens is a failed entity. He, therefore, said Governor Aregbesola is in a right direction for creating a vibrant agricultural sector in Osun State.

In his speech, the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Prof A.A. Amusan, expressed his appreciation to the Federal Government for supporting unemployed graduates and for providing opportunities for them to create jobs and guarantee food security for the nation. He also urged participants to carefully optimise the gains of their training.

Two of the participants, Adekunle Babatunde and Ajagun Jumoke, on behalf of others, expressed their readiness to make reasonable impact on the society.

Prof. Duro Oyedele and Prof. Akeem Tijani were among the training facilitators at the programme.

ECOWAS, World Bank to Inaugurate Scorecard

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the World Bank Group plan to inaugurate the economic investment climate scorecard, to remove barriers to cross-border trade.

Mr Traore Kalilou, ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion disclosed this at the opening of a two-day ECOWAS Investment Climate Scorecard Roundtable in Lagos.

The scorecard is to address a range of investment policy issues.

The scorecard is also an innovative instrument for ECOWAS and policymakers of its member states to address the barriers militating against the private sector across the regions.

Kalilou said the scorecard was targeted at three strategic goals of reducing investment entry barriers, improving investment incentives administration transparency and building capacity for member states in Transfer Pricing regulation.

He said the ECOWAS Investment Climate (IC) would identify investment barriers both nationally and regionally, as well as track the progress of national investment-climate and investment-policy reforms.

The commissioner said that IC would encourage the creation of a transparent and attractive investment climate to enhance private sector-led development in West Africa.

“ECOWAS is committed to implementing programmes that will facilitate regional integration and making it work for private sector operators and the people of West Africa.”

“The IC Scorecard standard benchmark criteria were derived from international good-practices and the balanced approach of the scorecard will encourage national reforms that will foster regional policy harmonization,” he said.

Ambassador Michel Arrion, Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria, said the project was to support the ECOWAS Commission in its regional integration agenda.

Arion said the objective was to incentivise ECOWAS member states to adhere to the good-practices standard benchmark criteria or indicators by integrating the same into their investment-reform agenda.

“The fact that the European Union is financing this project is a testimony of the commission’s commitment to improving regional private sector competitiveness through the facilitation of trade and investment.”

“Our support to improving investment conditions is part of the overall EU priority support to ECOWAS and West Africa.”

“This has been ongoing for quite some time and we are committed to continue under our new development cycle which covers 2014-2020,” he said.

Ms Eme Essien, Country Manager, International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank Group, said the agenda was to establish a strong Regional Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) mechanism.

Essien said the first PPD forum was initiated through an inaugural technical workshop in Dakar in June 2015, adding that there had been advanced initiatives at the national level.

According to her, a national reform action plan was obtained from six pilot countries of Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone towards the formal commitment to the regional monitoring scorecard.

She said that non-pilot countries had also been invited as observers, to help them prepare for future work.

Essien noted that an expected, the outcome from the roundtable was to get agreement from the six pilot countries on the specific national reforms to be monitored by the scorecard.

“West Africa has enormous potential to strengthen their competitiveness and increase investment flows, which can drive growth, reduce poverty, and deliver jobs to the region.”

“The World Bank Group is pleased to be working in partnership with regional organisations, member states, the private sector and development partners.”

“This will help these countries unlock investment challenges along key trade corridors, and improve their competitiveness within the global economy,” Essien said.

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World Bank to Support Regulatory Commission’s Disclosure Project

The World Bank says it will provide the required technical support to ensure the implementation of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission’s (ICRC) disclosure projects.

Ms Shynama Shukla, the bank Senior Public Private Partnership (PPP) Specialist, disclosed this during ICRC Contract Disclosure Forum on Friday in Abuja.

Shukla said that the bank was already providing technical assistance to strengthen PPP projects in Nigeria through some other projects and would continue to do so.

“The ICRC feels that there is the need for the disclosure framework given that Nigeria has been doing a lot of PPPs.”

“There are a lot of stakeholders on the PPP projects and unless more information goes out into the public domain, stakeholders, especially investors may not have the level of comfort required.”

“Because if you want to invest in a particular project, you will want a level of comfort that all the procedures have been followed and all the activities have been done by the MDAs as well as ICRC.”

“You will also want to ensure that the investment is transparent and conducive.”

“And because of that ICRC feels that there should be disclosure framework and they approached us because we work a lot in those areas with different countries.”

Earlier, the Director-General, ICRC, Mr Aminu Diko, said that the disclosure was important to ensure transparency and accountability in the way public sector services were provided in the country.

Diko, represented by Mr Chidi Izuwah, the Executive Director Support Service, ICRC, said the ICRC as an institution of government had the obligation to support the anti-corruption fight of the present administration.

He said that the commission would ensure this through making public some salient information on PPP contracts executed by MDAs on behalf of the Federal Government.

He said that the World Bank had created a draft framework for disclosure in PPP, which suggested a systematic structure for disclosing information proactively at PPP transactions.

Diko said that the commission in collaborated with the World Bank would develop a guideline for disclosure of PPP post on contract information being used to populate about 51 PPP contracts in ICRC’s database.

He said that it was essential for Nigeria to meet international best practice by customising the existing PPP post-contract disclosure framework to capture the pre-contract disclosure components.

According to him, this will ensure that the life cycle of a project from development phase to implementation is disclosed to the public.

He urged the public to study the disclosed PPP contracts information vis-a-vis the implementation of the different projects and revert to the commission where necessary for improved monitoring and compliance.

Diko said that the commission was working at ensuring that it did everything within its power to ensure that government’s efforts toward bridging the infrastructure gap in the economy were achieved.

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World Bank’s Study On Affordable Electricity In Africa Debut In SA

The new World Bank study on how Africa’s electricity providers can be profitable and still make electricity affordable at African Utility is expected to be unveiled in Cape Town, South Africa from May 16-18, 2017.

The study which dwells mainly on the financial health of electricity utilities in Sub-Sahara Africa showed that “Rather than tariff increases, cost reductions are often the best first step towards financial viability”

Lucio Monari, Director, Energy and Extractive Global Practice at the World Bank, said of the study that, a central but under-reported issue on the movement to reach universal access is the financial health of electricity utilities.

“Less than half of utilities cover operating expenditures while several countries lose in excess of US$0.25 per kWh sold. In this context, it will be difficult for utilities to maintain existing assets, let alone facilitate the expansion needed to reach universal access goals,” said Monari

Nigeria Power Sector Gets Support From World Bank

The World Bank group and the Nigerian Government has come to an agreement to scale up disbursements for critical projects in the country. Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun told journalists in Washington at the end of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings that the power sector, in particular, has received the backing of the World Bank and other development partners.

“If there is one thing that would really drive growth in Nigeria, its power. If we had to choose just one thing, it would be power because of the number of jobs it would create, the number of opportunities and amount of wealth it would create. So we have said getting power right is non-negotiable.”

“This phase we are now is about implementation. We’ve put the foundations in place, now it’s about really accelerating the implementation in certain key areas and we are quite confident that we are going to get back to growth and hopefully, would be sustainable growth that would be less volatile so that even if the oil price falls in future, Nigeria would not be as vulnerable as we have found ourselves in the last few years.”