The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and 29 states in Nigeria will benefit from a $140 million World Bank poverty reduction grant to the country.
The General Manager of the Niger State Community and Social Development Agency, Malam Ahmed Yussuf Usman, who disclosed the development, said that to benefit from the programme, each participating state would determine the “poorest of the poor communities” based on certain indices provided by the World Bank.
Usman explained that the indices include the level of infrastructure in the communities including the number of educational institutions, health facilities, roads and number of pupils enrolled in schools. The beneficiaries will also be required to counterfund the programmes with 50 million naira every year.
Speaking to newsmen in Minna, he said the first phase of the programme would end next year, but that the World Bank had given assurance that the scheme would be extended for another five years “because of its positive impact on the participating communities and its ability to reduce poverty among the people”.
He noted that the Niger State government has the potential of drawing 1.2 billion naira but that the government has so far collected 778 million naira in addition to counter funding the project with 150 million naira in the last three years.
Usman said 120 micro projects had been executed in 20 local governments participating in the scheme, pointing out that some of the projects executed included sinking of boreholes, provision of electricity, construction of schools and empowerment of women and building the capacities of junior and senior staff of local governments.
The General Manager said the major challenge the Agency is facing is “how to meet the huge number of requests from communities”.
He added that “as at today, we have more than 1,000 requests but we are treating them on first come first served basis”.