The Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Millennium Development Goals, (SSAP-MDGs) Dr Precious Gbeneol has declared that the era of poor implementation and abandonment of projects are over as the Government of President Goodluck Jonathan, through her office has successfully put in place a mechanism that will effectively place both contractors and officials monitoring the projects to proper check.
The SSAP-MDGs, who was also in Owerri to commission two Primary Healthcare Centres and a water scheme made this declaration at the launch of the mechanism tagged enhancing citizens’ engagement protocol for accelerating the attainment of the MDGs in Nigeria also known as “amebo” held in Owerri, Imo State weekend noted that the project will get the benefiting communities to be actively involved in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the development projects to foster sustainability. All the citizens are required to is to stay in touch with the office via a dedicated phone number: 08172888846 and www.mdgs.gov.ng/incident.
“The Enhancing Citizens’ Engagement Protocol for Accelerating the Attainment of the MDGs in Nigeria seeks to deepen community engagement by scaling up citizens’ action for participatory governance and development as a means of increasing the drive to achieve the MDGs in Nigeria. This protocol aims to develop and strengthen tools and mechanisms to ensure communities’ voice is part of decision making. It further seeks to ensure that community influences the outcomes of development projects whilst at the same time enhancing local government authorities’ responsiveness to community demand.” Gbeneol Stated.
The SSAP-MDGs added that the project which is being piloted in 21 Local Government Areas through the vehicle of the Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS) of the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs will further complement government efforts in institutionalising transparency, accountability and entrench good governance in project implementation.
“We are in collaboration with our International Development Partners, particularly the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with assistance from the Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund (DGTTF), in implementing this project. This initiative indicates that we continue to seek innovative ways through which we collaborate with our development partners with a view to improving the accountability and governance components in project implementation towards better service delivery.”
“May I note that this project will bridge the communication gap between the various tiers of government and the benefiting communities that was notably wide with improvement in the buy-in and ownership of government initiatives. It will improve the capacity of Local Government functionaries and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to appropriately focus development interventions, develop a community participation protocol and most importantly institutionalize a mechanism of feedback and dialogue between communities and LGAs. I therefore urge every Nigerian citizen to take advantage of this initiative and ensure that they are actively involved in project implementation at all levels.”
Speaking earlier in a meeting with the SSAP-MDGs, the Imo State Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere stated that is a worthy move to place the citizens who are the beneficiaries of the projects on the driver seat of projects implementations. He added that the MDGs projects in the state have gone a long way to impact the lives of the people.
Also speaking at the event, the resident coordinator of the UN system in Nigeria, represented by the programme analyst on Local programmes in UNDP, Andrew David Adejo said the United Nations is pleased with the efforts of OSSAP-MDGs in putting the people first. He added that they are optimistic that the initiative will ensure accountability and further strengthen the fabrics of good governance.
While commissioning the projects, Dr Gbeneol, implored the people to take advantage of them as a means to improve their living standards and the MDGs indicators.
“I further invite you to go beyond using this facility: I encourage you to own the project so as to ensure sustainability. You will by this gesture attract further inflow of aid which will have impact on the way you live.
She disclosed that the partnership between the FG and Imo state has impacted positively on the lives of the people.
“It may interest you to know that in 2011 alone, Imo State received the sum of N1,339,384,710.00 with the State contributing half of the amount as counterpart fund. In addition, three LGAs (Ngor Okpala, Onuimo and Nwagele) received N100,000,000 each which His Excellency graciously counterpart funded with N100,000,000 each. The projects being executed in the State using these funds include the rehabilitation of 12 motorized rural water schemes, the renovation of 38 PHCs, equipping of 2 schools of nursing and midwifery and conditional cash transfers to poor households.
“Using the 2012 DRGs Budget, four new Local Governments (Ikeduru, Obowo, Isu and Njaba) received N100,000,000.00 each which has been counterpart funded by an equal amount. In 2012, we commenced a large scale up of the Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme of the MDGs Office reaching more than 56,000 households in 24 States across the nation. We are expanding our reach to more households in 30 States of the Federation in 2013.” Gbeneol Stated.