The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved a $75 million concessional credit to the Edo State Government for its Growth and Employment Support Programme. The approved credit will be in the form of budget support similar to that extended to Lagos State in 2011. The $75 million is a first tranche of a $225 million facility granted the state that will be spread across three years.
The credit has been provided in recognition of critical policy and institutional reforms that the Edo State Government under Governor Adams Oshiomhole, has undertaken to improve management of public resources in the implementation of an infrastructure-oriented development strategy and creation of a better environment for growth and employment generation, through a more conducive investment climate and higher quality of education.
“Following the Board’s approval of a similar credit for Lagos State last year, this marks yet another milestone in Nigeria’s path to improving public service delivery through improved governance at state level and therefore contributing to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.
“I would like to congratulate the Edo State Government for its commitment towards reforms and would like to urge the authorities to stay the course,” she added.
Among the reforms on improving the management of public resources include the enactment of a public procurement law, sanitizing the payroll through the use of biometrics technology for identification, use of an integrated financial management information system for budget management, improving transparency in procurement through the publication of contracts awarded, and strengthening external oversight by clearing the backlog of audited financial statements. These policy reforms will ensure value for money in the utilization of public resources.
Other critical reforms include improving the investment climate focus via creation of a platform for a modern land information system that will be central to the process of streamlining procedures for acquiring property rights. This improved business climate, says the World Bank is critical to attracting investors to Edo, and hence, to generating growth and creating employment opportunities.
The government’s bold programme to rebuild schools and provide them with modern teaching aids has particularly elicited high marks from the World Bank.
“In education, the Edo State Government has been working on improving the quality of education so that the education system meets the demands and needs of the employment market. One key reform undertaken aims at improving governance at institutional level through the establishment of school-based management committees (SBMCs) in technical and vocational education institutions”, it says.
SBMCs will ensure that communities are involved in school decision-making, that will lead to improved student achievement and other outcomes as the local people demand closer monitoring of school personnel, better student evaluation, a closer match between the school’s needs and its policies, and a more efficient use of resources.
The Edo State Government is also piloting an Education Management Information System to ensure that there is adequate, accurate, and up to date information for planning, monitoring, and implementation of policies and programs for improving the quality of education.
“Apart from helping to bridge a financing gap for us to implement the critical infrastructure projects that Edo State needs to stimulate growth and create employment opportunities, the reforms we have undertaken and which have been recognized by the World Bank will ensure that the state obtains value for money in the utilization of the funds,” said Adams Oshiomhole, the Governor of Edo State.
“We are very grateful for the confidence that the World Bank has shown in us through this support and we would like to assure the citizens of Edo State, development partners, and other stakeholders that we will ensure prudence in the utilization of these resources and sustain the reforms we have embarked on”, he added.
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