Due to a series of alleged violations and poor program management by the Ebonyi state government, the World Bank has threatened to suspend operations in the state.
It was alleged that state officials had embezzled funds from various donor organizations and passed them on to the state administration.
Following the threats, the federal government has written to Gov. David Umahi through Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, to intervene in the situation.
It was noted that the alleged embezzlement could damage the nation’s reputation and prevent such bank interventions not only for the state but for the entire country.
In the letter, the SGF listed implementation agencies to be shut down, including Ebonyi State Community Based Social Development Agency (EB-CSDA), FADAMA, NCARES and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs).
The letter reads: “I am to convey the Secretary’s humble compliments to the Government. of the Federation and have the honor to bring to the attention of Her Excellency a report revealing plans by the World Bank project implementation agencies to close their offices in Ebonyi State.”
The letter dated August 31, 2022, received by Ebonyi State London Officer Abuja on September 1, 2022, was signed on behalf of Mustapha by a certain David Attah, a Director of the SGF Office.
“The decision follows alleged non-payment of counterpart funds as well as misappropriation of funds from donor organizations by officials hired by the state government, among others.
The SGF said that “according to the report, the federal government’s World Bank-funded NG-CARES program to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on citizens in the state has not yet started despite the release of the first tranche of three million dollars ( $3 million) from the bank in February 2022.
“In addition, ‘EB-CSDA, FADAMA and MSME beneficiaries are owed salary arrears of over twelve’ (12) months as of July 2021.”
“Consequently, the World Bank’s initiative to alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life of the state’s residents is on the brink of failure through non-payment of counterpart funds and other obligations.”
“This is true even if the alleged anomalies in fund management could tarnish the country’s image and prevent future intervention efforts by the bank and other global financial institutions,” Mustapha said.
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