The World Bank has approved a $250 million fund for various developmental projects in Ogun State, which is one of the six states approved by the world financial institution to support development priorities across the country, including improving immunization, enabling a stronger business environment for the private sector, expanding the digital economy to promote job creation, and increasing public and private sector capacity on governance and social and environmental safeguards.
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said, “Nigeria is central to the World Bank Group’s mission of tackling extreme poverty. The World Bank is carefully targeting its support on high impact projects as the country works to tackle corruption and lift 100 million of its people out of poverty.”
The Ogun State Economic Transformation Project is expected to improve private investment in the state by improving the business environment, strengthening the linkages between agricultural producers, suppliers and service providers, and providing training and apprenticeships for women and farmers.
Among some of the key results, the project will facilitate collaboration between farmers and agribusinesses; and improve STEM teaching in up to 70 per cent of public secondary schools. It is to be financed through an IDA credit of $250 million.
In a statement yesterday by Special Adviser on Public Communications to the governor, Rt. Hon. Remmy Hazzan, the state government said the World Bank approval was the outcome of various interactions between Governor Dapo Abiodun and officials of the bank, during which the governor was able to discuss his economic blueprint and development roadmap for the state.
Recall that the project facility suffered a major setback and in fact was reduced from the original amount of $350 million because of the slow utilization of the initial preparatory allowance of $5 million and the poor implementation of the preparatory phases of the project facility by the previous administration.
But Governor Abiodun was able to convince officials of the Bank that he would see to the judicious application of the fund with the developmental programnes already earmarked for execution in various parts of the state.
Prince Abiodun has already created an office within the Governor’s Office to accommodate officials of the Bank, who would be involved in project execution, disbursement of the fund and monitoring implementation of the approved projects.
The governor expressed gratitude to the World Bank for the confidence reposed in his administration, even as he promised to ensure efficient utilization of the fund.