Masari ap­peals to World Bank, Egypt for dev’t as­sis­tance

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Muideen Olaniyi

Gover­nor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State has ap­pealed to both the World Bank and the Egyp­tian gov­ern­ment to as­sist him solve what he de­scribed as his “cup­ful of prob­lems.”

In two sep­a­rate de­vel­op­ment en­gage­ments in Abuja, Masari told of­fi­cials of both bod­ies that in his com­mit­ment to ad­dress Katsina State’s chal­lenges in the ar­eas of wa­ter sup­ply, ed­u­ca­tion and agri­cul­ture, he de­sired the in­ter­ven­tions of the World Bank and other de­vel­op­ment agen­cies.

At the World Bank of­fice in Abuja, the gover­nor said that his state would re­quire noth­ing less than N115 bil­lion to ad­dress the chal­lenges in the health and ed­u­ca­tion sec­tors of the econ­omy alone.

“In the area of foundation ed­u­ca­tion, that is, pri­mary and sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion, we need, by our es­ti­mate to­day, a min­i­mum of N45bn for in­fra­struc­tures, in­clud­ing lab­o­ra­tory and all other equip­ment.

“Then, in the health sec­tor with 22 hos­pi­tals and over 30 health­care cen­tres, with­out even talk­ing about clin­ics, by our es­ti­mate, we need noth­ing less than N70bn,” he said.

While ad­dress­ing the World Bank chiefs, the gover­nor at­trib­uted the in­abil­ity of the state gov­ern­ment to han­dle its chal­lenges alone to the drop in the rev­enue al­lo­ca­tion oc­ca­sioned by the fall in the in­ter­na­tional price of crude.

“I’m here to so­licit fur­ther sup­port of the World Bank and other de­vel­op­ment agen­cies,” he pleaded, say­ing he was com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing Katsina state, which he ad­mit­ted is back­ward in many ar­eas, in­clud­ing ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity, based on the statis­tics re­leased by the Na­tional Bureau of Statis­tics (NBS).

The gover­nor voiced his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s com­mit­ment to the financial obli­ga­tions of all as­sisted projects and promised to ex­hibit hon­esty and trans­parency.

“We will know how much the state is get­ting from the fed­er­a­tion ac­count and they will know how much we are spend­ing in terms of salaries, over­heads and con­sum­ables,” Masari promised.

The new World Bank Coun­try Di­rec­tor in Nige­ria, Mr Rachid Ben­mes­saoud, re­sponded that the Bank was will­ing to as­sist Katsina State. Ben­mes­saoud, who noted the gover­nor’s pas­sion for the state, said the key ar­eas he would want the global financial in­sti­tu­tion to be in­volved in were ar­eas crit­i­cal to re­duc­ing poverty and lead­ing to an im­prove­ment in hu­man de­vel­op­ment in­di­ca­tors.

He promised that Katsina State, which cur­rently has four World Bank-As­sisted projects, would con­tinue to ben­e­fit from the 3rd Ur­ban Project, which has com­menced.

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