By Gabriel Efo
Akwa Ibom government has been enjoined to take advantage of the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) programme to draw more funds for development projects in the rural areas.
The National Coordinator, CSDP, Dr. Abdulkarim Obaje gave the advice when the Federal Project Support Unit (FPSU) media team paid a courtesy visit on the commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, in his office.
Obaje, who was represented by the head of operations, CSDP Federal Project Support Unit, Mr Fabowale Gbadebo, said Akwa Ibom was one of the best and top ranking states participating in CSDP.
He pledged to adopt the existing CSDP structures to ensure the implementation of aspect of the Result Area 1 for the State COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) programme.
The National Coordinator lauded the government for performing above average in the execution of micro projects even as the Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) Additional Financing, a World Bank-assisted programme, winds down September 2020.
Obaje also hailed the state for achieving a good draw down of available money, expressing happiness for the quality of micro projects implemented across rural communities in the state.
He said the team was impressed to witness the expression of joy on the faces of the benefiting communities when they visited the sites, saying what they saw were testimonies of the fact that money received was well spent.
Obaje, who posited that the state stands a better chance to benefit from more assistance from donor agencies like World Bank, given their performance level.
The CSDP boss said they were on a three-day visit to the state for South-South TV documentary to showcase Nigeria to the world especially headquarters of World Bank as the project winds down.
He said what informed the mission was to ascertain that the money received by the state was judiciously spent on the projects they were meant for.
“We needed to see some projects, especially those ones underlined by stories pathetic for people to read. We needed to package and showcase to the world as justification for getting more money,” he said.
Obaje, who said they have visited ten micro project sites across the state, explained that CSDP has intervened in 558 Local Government Areas across the country, being 72 per cent of the 774 local government areas.
According to him, “In total, 17,048 micro projects have already been completed and put to use by the beneficiaries across the country”
The commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr. Akan Okon, said the governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel was passionate about developing the state by ensuring that the poor masses benefit from developmental projects.
Okon commended the Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach adopted by CSDP, saying that was the more reasons the people were happy because it afforded them the opportunity to participate in development.
On the commendation by the National coordinator, Okon noted that it was a call for the state to perform more and assured that the Akwa Ibom will continue to do more to maintain the above average position.
The General Manager, Akwa Ibom State Agency for Community and Social Development (AKSACSD), Mr Ishmael Akpan while narrating the achievements of the agency, attributed their success to the support of the governor and supervision of the ministry.
The team earlier had embarked on inspection visit to some micro projects sites across communities in the state to see things for themselves and document them as well.
Some communities visited were Itie Ikpe, Ebo Itu Mbonu Uso and Nkwot Etok communities in Ini, Ikot Oku Esen, Hope Vulnerable Group, Esit Kiet Social Club and Akwa Ima Leprosy Infected Persons group in Etinan Local Government Area.
Others are: Oduonim Isong Inyang in Urue Offong /Oruko Local Government Area, Emero Oke, Eastern Obolo Local Government Area, Ikot Abia Ndia, Ikot Abasi Local Government Area and Ikot Ondo, Essien Udim Local Government Area.
The benefiting communities gave a rousing welcome to the team and expressed joy for the micro projects executed in their domain while appreciating the state government, World Bank and the agency for choosing their communities as beneficiaries, saying that their lives have been made better.
They, however, appealed for more micro projects to be sited in their communities, even as they got assurance from the team leader that they would be considered in the next phase of the project since they have performed well.