Still basking in the euphoria of the success of the Edo-Azura Power project and other World Bank-support projects in Edo State, Senior Director, Governance Global Practice, of the bank, Debbie Wentzel, arrived Benin City, the state capital on Friday, to consolidate the existing development-focused relationship between the bank and the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration.
Welcoming his guests, Obaseki expressed his pleasure with the series of visits by senior officials of the World Bank to Benin City and their desire to be part of the ongoing transformation of the state.
The governor said: “We have gone through a learning curve with the World Bank, a journey which started over nine years ago and we want to drive this down to the local government councils so that every individual in the state will feel the impact of our government at all levels.”
He explained that at the state level, several reforms of key institutions have changed work culture for better outcomes, and added: “Our institutions are working at the state level and we want to work at strengthening the local councils.”
The governor said that his administration also plans to work with the World Bank in strengthening governance-support structures for optimal performance and deepen the deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the state.
He maintained that what the state needs from the World Bank now is ‘More Knowledge and less Cash’ so that the state will optimise her resources for the benefit of all.
The World Bank Senior Director, Governance Global Practice, who led the bank’s delegation, said: “We are hoping to work with all the states in the country to support them improve their governance structures. We want to see how the states are working and how the World Bank can support them get better results.”
Wentzel added: “We will be looking at building states’ transparency, economic recovery; revenue collection and creating an enabling environment where private sector can thrive better.”
Other members of the delegation were; Practice Manager, Hisham Waly; Lead Project Specialist, Chief Bayo Awosemusi; Senior Public Sector Specialist, Ikechukwu Nweje; Senior Operations Officer, John Paul Ngebeh; and Procurement Specialist, Sunday Osoba.
The meeting also featured sessions on the implementation of the State Employment and Expenditure For Results (SEEFOR) project which falls under Wentzel’s portfolio.