The European Union says it will support Delta State with $17 million (about N3.3 billion) out of its $80 million grant to four states in the Niger-Delta region.
The money is part of the World Bank, EU and Delta-sponsored State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) project.
The World Bank’s Task Team Leader, Ismaila Sessay, disclosed this during a visit to the State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Kingsley Emu, on Monday in Asaba. He named the four states benefiting from the grant as Bayelsa, Edo, Delta and Rivers.
The five-year programme which started in 2013 is being financed by the World Bank to the tune of $200 million with Delta receiving $39.7 million(N7.9billion) in total.
With the additional $80 million financial support from EU, Sessay said Delta was expected to receive $17 million (N3.3 billion) grant. Sessay, also Head of Financial Management, World Bank, said the EU’s grant might create room for two years extension of the programme thereby attracting more relevant projects.
He said the team would be in Delta for few days to assess and review the mid-term implementation of the SEEFOR. According to him, with the EU coming into the project with its grant, there is need to widen the scope of SEEFOR and scale up the process.
“With this grant we should start looking at the whole platform of those people who are helping to create jobs, and by that, we are talking about the informal sector.
“We are talking about those people who are trying their best in improving the employment climate of the state,’’ Sessay said.
He lauded the state government, particularly the Project Coordinator, Benson Ojoko, for the smooth implementation of SEEFOR.
Sessay said the World Bank would continue to partner with the state to improve on the progress so far made.
“We are also looking forward to strengthening this relationship between the World Bank, the EU and of course, the Federal Government.
“As a team, we want to see Delta become one of the prime states in terms of project implementation.
“This project is one of the flagship projects in this state and we use it to pride ourselves that the project in Delta is indeed doing well,’’ the World Bank official said.
Responding, Emu lauded the World Bank for the initiative and assured that the state would continue to strengthen its partnership with the agencies, especially in driving SEEFOR.
He noted that SEEFOR programme had been able to impact positively on the socio-economic lives of the people. Emu said the objective of SEEFOR was in line with the SMART agenda of Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa, who, he noted, was committed to the socio-economic well-being of the people.