The Edo state Government has entered into partnership with the World Bank, the Federal Ministry of Finance as well as that of Budget and National Planning to assist the state efficiently execute its poverty reduction schemes.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. John Mayaki said the partnership is a fallout of the visit of the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki to the three organizations at the weekend in Abuja.
At the World Bank, the governor sought the input of the institution as the state prepares its 2017 budget. He said the bank would provide a lot of technical support to the state in sectors that could accelerate economic progress and job creation.
“I am at the World Bank, and you know they have been very active partners in the governance of the state and so as we prepare for 2017 budget, we need to have conversations with them on some areas of support and to also express our gratitude for their intervention since the last eight years.
“We believe that the World Bank would be of tremendous assistance from budget conception through technical support for some of our initiatives. We have for instance facilities for agro-processing zones which we intend to harness; we have facilities to support technical education which we have come to access and we have a whole lot of initiatives which we discussed and hope to also access.
“In fact the recession itself provides opportunity and that means we now have to look inwards since we are not able to raise the amount of foreign exchange as we had in the past to import the goods and services we need. For instance, we used to spend about $15 billion importing food to the country and we want to make Edo state one of the centers for food production in Nigeria”, Gov. Obaseki pledged.
Lead Procurement Specialist of the Bank who represented its Country Director, Chief Bayo Awosehunsi lauded the governor’s credentials, saying Mr. Obaseki is not a rookie when it comes to administering a state.
He said the Bank would extend a facility to the state to enable her take care of development issues.
“The governor is not new to governance. He is also a technocrat and he understands what it means to govern a state. His programmes are very laudable in the area of education and job creation and the mission of the bank is to actually fight poverty and to expand prosperity. So, we believe we have a good partner to work with.
“Before his administration we had engaged the government in the area of improved governance; education, project support for his economic policies. He has asked for the last phase of the Development Policy Operation DPO. So, we are going to continue to work with him to release that fund so that he can use it to address any development issue in the state”, he said.
At the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Gov. Obaseki who met with the ministers and other top-level administrators in the ministry, expressed his determination to work closely with the ministry to attract more development to his State.
Promising that the 2017 budget of the state would be ready before December 15, Gov. Obaseki said it was necessary to liaise with the ministry so that the state could ascertain the amount of donor-support that should be incorporated into the budget.
“I came to visit very senior officials of the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning to make sure that Edo state keys into the federal government’s programmes aimed at sustaining the development of this country and also getting the country out of recession.
“As you are aware, there are social intervention programmes that are being finalised by the federal government that would help to create jobs, help boost the economy and sustain the current economic reforms being driven by the current administration. We do not want Edo to be left out, we want to be a key participant and you know I just assumed office few weeks ago and we have a lot of catching up to do.
“We will submit our budget before the 15th of December and that is one of the reasons why we are making these visits to ensure the amount of donor funding or support that we need to include in our budget”, the governor stated.
Gov. Obaseki who also met with the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said the state would not leave anything to chance in its desire to remain financially-buoyant.