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Poor Execution Of $4.2bn Donors' Projects Worries FG

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ABUJA, July 08, (THEWILL) - Development Partners have funded Nigeria’s social sector projects to the tune of $4.23 billion dollars in the last ten years, just as the federal government today accepted responsibility that poor implementation and bureaucratic bottlenecks have harmfully affected projects across the country.

But Finance Minister, Mr. Olusegun Aganga said government was ready to checkmate the trend most especially its avowed commitment at entrenching transparency, accountability and value for funds in the implementation of all donor programmes.

The Minister gave a rundown of all donor related funds within the period under review to include World Bank grants totaling $3.56 billion dollars for 24 projects with the sum of $564.17 million dollars for 13 projects from the African Development Bank (ADB).

He stressed that the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) funded three projects for $72.1milion Dollars while the Islamic Development Bank has provided $30.0 million dollars for one project.

Mr. Aganga admitted that a major drawback to project implementation was state governments’ failure to meet their counterpart funding obligations, noting that the Ministry of Finance would take on development partners to make sure that social sector programmes receive the desired funding.

The Minister said government has put in place modalities in order to properly utilize funds from donors such as the Project Financial Management Unit (PFMU) at the Federal level to rationalize project execution values and ensure compliance with fiduciary and procurement agreements.

"The implementation modalities of the PFMU are presently being worked out by Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) in conjunction with the International Economic Relations Department, Federal Ministry of Finance," he said, stressing that from criticisms so far received from government agencies the PFMU’s operations were being redesigned for smooth policy execution.

He noted that for proper execution of projects "external borrowings by both states and federal government entities for projects and programmes are not only in conformity with national priorities but that they deliver economic and social returns."

He further said that "The new policy also makes it mandatory that henceforth, only projects and programmes that are approved by the states’ houses of assembly would be admitted into the yearly external borrowing programmes for consideration by National Assembly as an integral part of the yearly budget".

World Bank Country Representative, Onno Ruhl said the Bank has brought in pre-and post-mortem consultation to bring to fore their projects in Nigeria apart from the electronic payment to ensure openness.

Ruhl said that the electronic payment system with Nigeria as the first country to enjoy the facility in Africa would no doubt check administrative lapses in the handling of funds, adding that the World Bank was ready to help Nigeria attain its Vision 2020.

He said Nigeria should be in a hurry to thrive and succeed on all fronts, adding that all stakeholders must work together to ensure transparency in contracts managements, projects conception and execution.