Three local government areas in Cross River State; Abi, Biase and Obudu have emerged winners of the European Union-Niger Delta Support Programme for the implementation of the Union’s pilot projects in the state .
At a two-day-self-selection exercise for the eighteen LGAs based on community needs, organized by the state government in collaboration with EU-NDSP, held at the Lakeside Hotel, Tinapa, Calabar, Secretary to the State Government, Mike Aniah, while declaring the event open, described it as a special one given the fact that stakeholders who were not members of the evaluation committee were invited to witness the exercise, adding that the outcome should become the driving force for other LGAs to work at maximally implementing EU projects in their areas.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, National Planning Commission, Fidelis Ugbo, represented by E. Ebei Esege, emphasized the essence of the programme and cautioned against the hand picking of LGAs for the implementation of the projects to avoid mistakes made in the Micro Projects and Programmes 6 (MPP6) scheme.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the State Governor on International Development Co-operation, Roy Ndoma-Egba said the programme was to contribute towards poverty alleviation, mitigate conflict in the Niger Delta by addressing the main causes of unrest, violence and bad governance adding and that the intervention would be in the nine States of the Niger Delta including Cross River. He made a case for the creation of a pool in which the funds for implementing these projects would be deposited to enable states that have met the criteria for implementation, draw funds from it.
Peter Ojie, Commissioner, Ministry of Local Government Affairs, assured the EU delegation of the cooperation of stake holders and the delivery of quality projects on schedule.
The Director of Planning, RUWATSSA, J. A Agba listed the criteria used for the self- selection exercise to include institutional capacity, evidence of reforms in terms of leeds documents, commitment of local government councils to fund projects, service level and service gap or vulnerability, total number of programmes and projects benefited by LGAs/ Communities, ability to domicide projects in all communities within the LGA amongst others.
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