A'Ibom Govt Re-Affirms Commitment To Rural Development

Akwa Ibom government has pledged to maintain its position as one of the leading participating states in Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) in terms of draw down on project fund and timely completion of project implementation so as to qualify to join the next cycle of the project. Governor, Udom Emmanuel made the pledge recently in Uyo while declaring open a workshop on Zonal Environmental and Social Training organized by the Federal Project Support Unit (FPSU) of Community and Social Development Project (CSDP). Represented by the Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr Akan Okon, the governor who welcomed the 50 participants drawn from Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states, said the state government will continue to do well in terms of project implementation by ensuring that all on-going projects are completed before the next cycle. As the programme winds down next year, on June 2019, Emmanuel said, "we will key in immediately to join the second cycle of the project for continuous and total development of our rural communities" The governor who noted, "through CSDP, we have been able to touch and impact positively on many rural communities", quipped, "it gladdens my heart that we are number one in terms of project implementation" He disclosed that "this year alone, 25 communities have received various funding for the implementation of Micro-projects of their choice", adding that the state government under his watch was passionate about developing the state. Commenting on the theme of the workshop, Emmanuel said the training was timely, adding that environmental issue on project implementation was a major subject of global concern as a result of climate change which is acting negatively on the environment. The governor who posited that "our region is prone to erosion, flood and other environmental hazard", stressed that "issues on environment should be taken seriously in the various aspect of project implementation" Emmanuel commended the FPSU for the initiative in organizing the workshop, stressing that it will go a long way to enhancing implementation of micro-projects in the rural communities. He commended the participants for leaving their various states to attend the four-day workshop, noting that it was a sign of their commitment towards the development of their states. While thanking the various state governments for paying their counterpart fund which enabled them to come on board the project, Emmanuel stressed the need for them to key in for the next cycle for total development of both regions. The national co-ordinator of CSDP, Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, said the objective of the training was to give advance level training to selected officers of the agency across the two regions on environmental/social issues and need to mitigate impact of intervention in communities. The choice of Akwa Ibom for the workshop according to him was because the state is one of the leading participating states in terms of draw down on project fund . "We are already impressed not only with the quality of the Micro-projects done in Akwa Ibom but with the level of literacy and understanding of project we saw in the cause of interacting with the people in the communities" "We felt Akwa Ibom state present a wonderful example to showcase what we are doing in terms of environment and social safeguards, probably you can learn from the expert and then other colleagues can also learn from the experience of Akwa Ibom", Obaje stated. Commenting on CSDP, the national Co-ordinator said the programme will wind up June 2020, adding that evaluation to assess the impact of intervention across the nation were ongoing. The national co-ordinator disclosed that the project have expended 73 billion naira to provide social and natural resource infrastructure services in over 5,000 communities, adding, "we have over 14,000 micro-projects that are either been completed or on the process of being completed" He said CSDP "is a massive project that touches the lives of the poor and vulnerable in the society", noting that it will be a veritable tool to contribute to the fulfillment of the president's promise to lift 100 million people out of poverty in the next ten years. The general manager, Akwa Ibom State Agency for Community and Social Development, Mr Ishmael Akpan, noted that environmental issues were very important in any project execution hence the essence of the workshop which he said focused on how to protect the environment during project implementation to mitigate impact. Akpan pledged the resolve of the state agency to continue to maintain the tempo as the leading state in the project and remain at the top so as to qualify to join the next cycle. "We will deepen our penetration of all communities in the rural areas before the programme comes to a close." "We have already put strategies in place to ensure all ongoing micro-projects are completed before the end of the closing date in 2020" The general manager noted that if the state government key into the next cycle of the project, it will stand to benefit more.

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