Kano, Osun, three other states to benefit from N345b EU fund
Five states yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to access 1.5 billion euros fund for development projects.
The states, which accepted the Europe Aid Fund considered by many as a free gift are Adamawa, Kano, Kogi, Nasarawa and Osun.
The Academic Study European Union (ASEU) Resident Consultant for West Africa, Senator Jonathan Zwingina, who spoke at the agreement signing ceremony in Abuja, said the states paid nothing but only indicated their willingness and readiness to access the multi-billion-naira development funds.
Zwingina said the five states would each collect a minimum of 50 million euros (about N11.5 billion) grant in the next six months to finance any project of their choice.
“For their inability to divert reasonable portion of the fund, most states in Nigeria are ignoring the 1.5 billion euros grant, set aside for development projects by the Europe Aid Fund,” Zwingina said.
“Nigeria stands to benefit from over €1.5 billion to cover development projects at federal, state or local government levels. We are commencing the program in Nigeria with only five states in the first phase of the programme.”
Zwingina said the state governments should realise that most of the grants don’t come cheap, “they come with very strict rules and regulations and very lengthy cumbersome guidelines and processes which must be followed before an application is successful.”
“The expenditure process is equally strict and rigorous and there is no room for corruption or 10% in the process at all. Perhaps, this is why some Nigerian institutions did not show interest in the grants. However, we have no choice today than to change our attitude and accept the change programme of the government and discipline ourselves in order to benefit from our partnership with international development agencies.”
Zwingina said the body is commencing the programme in five (5) states in the first phase, with the hope that it would serve as a model to attract other states and the Federal government to join in later.
The former senator called on the states to identify not more than three (3) priority projects in order of need or at least one, which would enable them access project grant between €50-100 million and nominate a five-man team to liaise with the consultants, the developer, states government and the EU on a regular basis, after a special training, slated for May 2016, to prepare the team for the program is completed.