THE World Bank has commended the transformation agenda, people- oriented policies, transparency in government, public procurement and good governance under the administration of Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State in the past six years. The commendation came through its International Development Agency (IDA), at the commencement of a three-day inspection visit and technical sessions on the Edo State Employment and Expenditure for Results/ Development Policy Operations (Edo SEEFOR/DPO), an IDA assisted programme. IDA’s Task Team Leader (TTL), Jens Christensen, praised the state government for meeting conditions that enabled it access an earlier $75 million grant from the World Bank.
According to him, “I want to say clearly that the World Bank Group, the IDA, is extra-ordinarily proud to be a partner with Edo state, one of the things we look forward when we want to find people to support them is ownership, drive, vision and ability to deliver and it is clear that when we look across the states in Nigeria Edo state is one of the states we are very proud and happy to be able to partner with.
“It is clear that in our line of service, we do not want to implement reforms, we do not want to design reform, we want to support the reformers, we want results delivered, we want our counterparts to be in the driver’s seat and we support. “It is clear to us that Edo performs. we have seen its involvement in urban and rural infrastructure, drainage, and youth activities and we have also been compared to many other parts of Nigeria on the reform agenda that is taking place.”
Oshiomhole has demonstrated that the World Bank’s can support the development and implementation of an open government initiative in Nigeria’s Edo State. It reflects upon the process of design and implementation of the first phase of the Edo State Open Government Initiative, which began in 2011 and sought to establish a broader framework for an Open Government ecosystem in the state. Phase 1 culminated with the launch of the Edo State Open Data Portal in September 2013, the first sub-national portal in Africa and which contains more than 100 data sets that had not been previously digitized or released to the public. Using this experience as a reference point, the note seeks to surface some lessons learned for effectively partnering with governments (both federal and state) on an open government agenda. At its core, open government is commonly perceived as being comprised of three main pillars: participation, transparency and collaboration. The World Bank’s engagement with the Edo State Government in establishing of an Open Government Framework and moving open government ideas forward has resulted in a number of tangible outcomes and public goods. The Edo State Open Data Portal is now being reused by the developer’s community and is providing citizens of Edo with free access to high-value, government data. As a result of the project, the government created two special units: a data digitalization unit and a GIS unit. The case of Edo presents a valuable knowledge sharing opportunity around creating an open government ecosystem and moving this agenda forward in a complex environment.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has flagged off a N5.7billion Auchi and N2.7billion Queen Ede Erosion projects to tackle the menacing gully erosion threatening to consume the community, describing it as a historic intervention that will change the fortune of the kingdom. Speaking at the flag-off of the World Bank-assisted project, Oshiomhole said, “We have borrowed N5.7 billion naira to protect this great kingdom of Auchi, to restore hope and to remove the fear and the pain, that people suffer when it rains because that is the primary purpose of government. The loan that the bank gave to us is at an interest rate of less than 1% and it was spread so thinly that we pay painlessly. So it takes a sensible government, competent and transparent for people to access this World Bank facility. “I want to congratulate you for witnessing this historic intervention which will change the fortune of this great kingdom and all those who reside in this kingdom. When men or women who are enthroned into office by God conduct themselves under the guidance of God and ensure that justice and fairness rule, then the people will rejoice because they will witness development. “I am really excited at this rare privilege that we are here to formally flag off the restoration and the construction of the Auchi erosion project. In his remarks, the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Programme (NEWMAP) National Project Director, Mr. Chikelo Nwune said, “Whatever will be done, the challenge is on all of us all to make it work. The money we are going to use to do this project is a loan that will be paid over several periods of years, so it is important for us to be prudent in the management of the project. “The terrain of Auchi area is something we cannot change. We have done the design and the people who have the expertise and the skills are going to translate it and you will see the drain that will convey the runoff water into the water bodies. Beyond that, the natural environment will be tampered with, some houses will go but thank God the resources are there to create some compensation “As development takes place, human beings lifestyle must change, people must generate wealth. As I look around, I saw garbage here and there, if these garbage enter into the drainage, they will distort the normal flow of water, so it is necessary for us to remind ourselves that there are expectations, from the government to pay the contractors, for the contractor to deliver and beyond that, for the maintenance. We all must agree that after the work is done, we are going to maintain it so that it will stand the test of time”, he said..
The World Bank has announced the approval of a $75million (about N11.25billion) concessional credit facility in support the First Edo State Growth and Employment Support Programme. The Board of Executive Directors of the bank had last month declared that the credit facility would be in the form of budget support similar to that which was extended to the Lagos State government in 2011.
“The credit was provided in recognition of critical policy and institutional reforms that the Edo State government has undertaken to improve management of public resources in the implementation of an infrastructure-oriented development strategy and creation of a better environment for growth and employment generation through a more conducive investment climate and higher quality of education,” the bank said on Thursday.
The bank identified the reforms undertaken by the state government to improve the management of public resources to include the enactment of a public procurement law, sanitizing the payroll through use of biometrics technology for identification, use of an integrated financial management information system for budget management, improving transparency in procurement through the publication of contracts awarded, and strengthening external oversight by clearing the backlog of audited financial statements.
Noting that these policy reforms would ensure value for money in the utilization of public resources, Mrs. Marie-Nelly underscored the significance of reforms, pointing out that they are critical for improving the investment climate focus on establishing a platform for a modern land information system that would be central to the process of streamlining procedures for acquiring property rights.
“An improved business climate is critical to attracting investors to Edo, and hence, to generating growth and creating employment opportunities,” she said, adding that the Edo State government has been working on improving the quality of education to meets the demands and needs of the employment market.“One key reform undertaken aims at improving governance at institutional level through the establishment of school-based management committees (SBMCs) in technical and vocational education institutions,” she said.
“SBMCs will ensure that communities are involved in school decision-making, that will lead to improved student achievement and other outcomes as the local people demand closer monitoring of school personnel, better student evaluations, a closer match between the school’s needs and its policies, and a more efficient use of resources.
“Edo State Government is also piloting an Education Management Information System to ensure that there is adequate, accurate, and up to date information for planning, monitoring, and implementation of policies and programs for improving the quality of education. The state governor, Adam Oshiomhole said apart from helping bridge a financing gap for his administration to implement the critical infrastructure projects the state needs to stimulate growth and create employment opportunities, the reforms undertaken by his administration, which has earned it the World Bank’s recognition, would ensure that the state obtains value for money in the utilization of the funds.
Azura-Edo one billion dollar power project is a clear demonstration of the confidence of the international community, including World Bank in the economy of Edo State led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. It is an indication that Edo State is investor friendly as the Government under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has put in place the necessary infrastructure to attract investors to the state. This is another project conceptualized by the Edo state Government under the Public private partnership programme to unlock the industrial potentials in the state and make the state the nation’s energy hub”.
The foundation laying ceremony of the $1 biliion Azura-Edo 1,000 megawatts gas-powered independent power plant was performed by President Goodluck Jonathan at Ihovbe/Orior Osemwende communities, off Benin-Lagos Bypass, Benin City. The first phase of the project, which was conceptualized in 2010 and jointly incubated by the Edo State Government under comrade Adams Oshiomole and Amara Capital, the key promoters of Azura power west Africa Ltd, is 450-500 mega watts to be scaled up to 1,000 megawatts in the second phase.
The Azura project is the first Nigerian power project to benefit from the World Bank’s “Partial risk guarantee” structure which was specifically created to meet the developing needs of emerging markets globally. The Azura-Edo IPP is expected to create the template for the successful development of IPPs in Nigeria and Edo state is playing a pioneering role in determining the future of Nigeria’s power sector. Azura-Edo IPP will provide over 4,000 direct and indirect jobs for the people of the state from the construction to the post-construction period of the project.
Nigerians lauded the cooperation between the governor of Edo State, comrade Adams Oshiomole, the World Bank and the private sector over the remarkable partnership in the power and energy sector between the FG and the state. Work on the $1 billion Azura Edo State Independent Power was flags-off last year as President Goodluck Jonathan turned the sod for the commencement of construction work on the project.
Recognizing Policy and Institutional Reforms for Growth and Employment Creation: Edo State received $75 million Budget Support from the World Bank WASHINGTON, April 12, 2012– The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on March 29, 2012 approved a US$75 million concessional credit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria for a First Edo State Growth and Employment Support Program. The approved credit was in the form of budget support similar to that which was extended to the State of Lagos in 2011. The credit was provided in recognition of critical policy and institutional reforms that the Edo State Government has undertaken to improve management of public resources in the implementation of an infrastructure-oriented development strategy and creation of a better environment for growth and employment generation through a more conducive investment climate and higher quality of education. “Following the Board’s approval of a similar credit for Lagos State last year, this marks yet another milestone in Nigeria’s path to improving public service delivery through improved governance at state level and therefore contributing to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria. “I would like to congratulate the Edo State Government for its commitment towards reforms and would like to urge the authorities to stay the course,” she added. Among the reforms on improving the management of public resources include the enactment of a public procurement law, sanitizing the payroll through use of biometrics technology for identification, use of an integrated financial management information system for budget management, improving transparency in procurement through the publication of contracts awarded, and strengthening external oversight by clearing the backlog of audited financial statements. These policy reforms will ensure value for money in the utilization of public resources. Critical reforms for improving the investment climate focus on establishing a platform for a modern land information system that will be central to the process of streamlining procedures for acquiring property rights. An improved business climate is critical to attracting investors to Edo, and hence, to generating growth and creating employment opportunities. In education, the Edo State Government has been working on improving the quality of education so that the education system meets the demands and needs of the employment market. One key reform undertaken aims at improving governance at institutional level through the establishment of school-based management committees (SBMCs) in technical and vocational education institutions. SBMCs will ensure that communities are involved in school decision-making, that will lead to improved student achievement and other outcomes as the local people demand closer monitoring of school personnel, better student evaluations, a closer match between the school’s needs and its policies, and a more efficient use of resources. Finally, the Edo State Government is also piloting an Education Management Information System to ensure that there is adequate, accurate, and up to date information for planning, monitoring, and implementation of policies and programs for improving the quality of education.
Inwalomhe Donald, Justice Research Centre, Benin City. [email protected]