By Amos Aar, Makurdi
THE Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Titus Uba has commended the Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA) for its consistency in the implementation of projects in rural communities across the state.
The Speaker, who disclosed this on Saturday while interacting with the Head, Monitoring and Information Management, Federal Projects Support Unit of CSDA in Nigeria, Mr Adeniyi Oduneye, at his residence in Makurdi, capital of Benue State, said the agency has completed over forty rural projects with many others ongoing in Vandeikya local government area of the state where he hails from.
Hon Uba expressed joy over the development and explained that the communities were required to pay a certain percentage of counterparts funding for the projects to be implemented for them.
He further stated that CSDA projects are all-inclusive as the agency not only allows communities to choose projects they want but also participate in project implementation as well as maintenance. He said, this makes communities to value and own the projects because of their involvement.
“Governor Ortom has provided an enabling environment for CSDA to operate in Benue because we are not buoyant as a state. So, if the CSDA brings funds and is looking for rural areas to develop, Governor Ortom has opened his hands to accept them to come into the state by providing those small, small funds that they require to take off in the rural areas. If there is a follow-up programme, we will do our best to make sure that they come back to our state,” the Speaker said.
He assured that if there is need to back up the project with legislation, they will not hesitate to do that just as they did when CSDA came. So whatever form or name in which the project comes they will give it a legislative backing to be able to thrive because it is very beneficial to them.
Hon. Uba also revealed that the Benue State government was partnering with the Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) and the Federal Rural Development Department to open up rural roads in the state.
Mr Oduneye, head of Federal Project Support of the CSDA, told newsmen that his team was not on a monitoring exercise but a documentary assignment. He said the CSDA project has been on ground since 2009 and it has made great impact in Nigeria.
He disclosed that the CSDA has so far intervened in over 500 local government areas and 4,300 communities in Nigeria. He also said that although the project will come to an end on the 30th of September, 2020, an abridged programme known as “Cares” will come up to cushion the effect of Covid-19 pandemic and the structures of Community and Social Development Projects (CSDP) will be used to implement it.
He added that the project will also have food safety component and the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises component to make it an all-encompassing economic ‘terminus’ intervention. He stated that the states are given US$20,000 (N77.2 million) each by the Central Bank of Nigeria based on their performance in terms of physical projects on ground because according to him, “it is not business as usual.”
Mr Oduneye commended the level of implementation of projects in Benue State and rated it as commensurate with the amount of money given to the state by the federal government.