-By Albert OGRAKA:
In a bid to further boost the impact of the State Employment and Expenditure For Results (SEEFOR) in the development of Delta state economy, the World Bank has increased its counterpart funding of community projects in the state in the 2018 fiscal year.
The Delta state Project Coordinator of SEEFOR, Mr. Benson Ojoko, revealed to Blank NEWS Online that the State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) and the Community Driven Development Intervention Unit (CDDSIU), through the CDDSIU-SEEFOR Delta initiative had greatly impacted on the infrastructural development of over 84 communities across the state with electricity extension, digitalized libraries, borehole water construction, provision of multi-purpose hall buildings, among many others.
“It is heart warming that the World Bank after a critical appraisal of SEEFOR programmes in the state has increased its counterpart funding of such projects in the state from the initial 10 million naira to 20 million naira in the 2018 fiscal year to further boost the impact of SEEFOR in the development of the state economy”, he said.
Mr. Ojoko, however explained that the CDDSIU which is a unit under the Delta state Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, is a sub component of SEEFOR project for youth employment intervention that supports social economic services to rural communities and public financial management resource .
He further mentioned that the elites are not allowed to capture the projects in any community that is desirous of intervention but through Participatory Rrural Appraisal with stakeholders comprising of the market women, youths, elders and traditional rruler who vote for projects.
“The communities simply identify the projects of their choice, pay 10% counterpart of the total cost of each project in cash or kind while through SEEFOR the remaining 90% for the completion of the projects is released to the communities.”
Other achievements of the state SEEFOR involves the construction and maintenance of concrete drains to checkmate the menace of erosion and floods across the state, particularly in erosion and flood prone areas, while in the area of employment generation, over 12,000 skilled and unskilled personnel were engaged in the 2017 fiscal year while about 3,000 of such workers have recently been engaged to carry out various remedial clean up and construction works across the state.
SEEFOR is also positively carrying out desired revolutionary repositioning of the educational sector of the state economy through the issuance of special grants to the technical colleges and vocational centres across the state for procurement of required materials for training.
The Agricultural sector has also been touched positively through the FADAMA III programme by assisting rural farmers to engage in all-year-round cultivation of crops to ensure food security in the state just as the Songhai-Delta in Amukpe has been assisted to continuously train farmers on how to cultivate hybrid tomatoes in the state.
Reacting to claims of alleged diversion of World Bank project funds concerning the CDDSIU-SEEFOR Delta, the Project Coordinator who described the allegations as false and misplaced, said it is being peddled by erring staffs of the CDDSIU unit, who were sanctioned for gross misbehavior by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, now headed by Rev. Mrs. Omatsola Williams.
According to him, “The affected staffs had gone out of their ways in doing things that were not allowable and breaching the trust and confidence reposed in them. It was actually a kind of conflict of interest situation.
“The ministry informed me about what the people did and that they (ministry) took an action to ease them out to allow people who are development oriented with passion to do their work without really puting their selfish interest forward first. The truth is that there is no single evidence of the allegations they are claiming.
“The allegation is the falsehood of a few people who just want to drag the name of this state into the mud. I don’t know what they gain by deciding to malign a whole state, a whole project because of their own selfish interest. You are accused for doing the wrong thing in a project, and you can also see how bad it feels when people do so much good and some few people say bad things about them.”