The European Union Programme Manager in Abia State, Dr. Ken Uzor, has decried the lukewarm attitude of local governments in the payment of their counterpart fund for needy communities.

Uzor made this known on Thursday in Umuahia when officials of MPP9 paid a courtesy visit on the state Commissioner for Cooperatives and Poverty Reduction, Mr. Israel Amanze.

Uzor said, 'We want you to use your good offices during State Executive Council meetings to encourage local government administrators to support their communities by paying the counterpart fund for the success of the programme.'

He said that communities collaborating with them were expected to pay 25 per cent of the total cost of the project of their choice in cash or kind, while their respective local councils would support them with 25 per cent cash.

He added that officials of MPP9 came to solicit the assistance of the commissioner to support the infrastructural development of Abia as one of the nine benefiting states in the Niger Delta.

'We have come to ask you to collaborate with us as one of the major stakeholders of rural development so as to meet the target of the Millennium Development Goals, he said.

Responding, Amanze stressed the need to employ the services of community development officers in executing micro projects like the MPP9 to achieve rural economic development.

Amanze said that the ministry had other subsidiary workers in all the 17 local government areas of the state, who were ready to sensitise and encourage communities on the benefits of each project.

He called on programme managers operating in the state to use the services of professionally trained community development officers, stressing, 'if rural areas are developed, poverty will be drastically reduced.'