Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has advocated improved transparency in reporting relationship with the World Bank for efficient and timely execution of projects in the state.
Ajimobi, who made this call on Monday, upon receiving the World bank’s delegation, led by Country Director, World Bank, Benmessaoud Rachid, added that a restructuring and repositioning of the reporting relationship would prevent incidences of emergency projects sliding into long term projects.
Calling for speedy implementation of projects in the state, he expressed concern at the slow pace of the World Bank’s intervention in addressing the 2011 flood disaster in the state.
Ajimobi bemoaned that the project was sliding from being treated as emergency into a long term project.
While appreciating the World Bank’s projects in the state over the years, Ajimobi prayed for investments in capacity building for teachers, out of school programmes, agriculture, infrastructural development, environment, sanitation and public health.
“Before we came in, they had programmes in health, agriculture. But, I must add when we came in, we were very unhappy about the level of deliverables in our relationship with the World Bank. I was particularly concerned about the slow rate of response on World Bank projects, especially, my experience when we had flooding disaster in August 2011.”
“And it was regarded as an emergency situation and we quickly rushed to the World Bank for support. Unfortunately, up till this moment, it is no longer treated by the World Bank as an emergency, it gradually slid into the regular long term project as against an urgent, life saving project.”
“Devaluation has affected the project, some of the facilities are beginning to deteriorate, and it wasn’t a project that I like the way it has been handled.”
”And similarly, all the World Bank projects that we met on ground were not transparent enough for me. I didn’t see a very clear reporting relationship. I even had a manager at a time who said that he reports directly to the World Bank.”
“The projects we are doing with the World Bank are loans which we are to pay back. How can I take a loan and buy a car and driver of the car says that he has another owner somewhere; that he is reporting to the bank and that the bank directs his movement. Any project we are doing in Oyo State with the World Bank, apart from the importance of it, should be handled in such a way that the clear working relationship is known to everybody.”
“Projects should be timely done. When a project is classified as emergency, we should treat it as emergency. Therefore, in terms of relationship, we need to restructure and reposition for timely execution of projects, and by extension, for effectiveness and efficiency.”
In his remarks, the Country Director, Rachid, said the two days visit was to discuss opportunities to engage further in responding to development challenges in the state.
Rachid also identified the need for improved communication between the World Bank and governors of states where its projects were being executed.
He expressed the willingness of the World Bank to invest in improving the education and agricultural sectors of the state.
According to him, the projects of the state were aimed at reducing poverty and providing prosperity for residents of the state.
So far, he listed six projects in the Urban sector, community social development programme, agriculture, HIV/AIDS, amounting to $241 million.