The Government of Enugu State says it will augment funding for development projects by local government councils in the state to the tune of 60 per cent to speed up grassroots development, especially in the areas of agriculture, agro-allied industrialisation and critical infrastructure.
The government made this known after a meeting of the Enugu State Economic Planning Commission at the Government House, Enugu, on Monday, saying the move was targeted at boosting the rural economy and creating jobs for the teeming youths.
Addressing Government House correspondents shortly after the meeting attended by the council chairmen, the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Chidiebere Onyia said the Mbah administration was desirous of forging a progressive partnership with the local governments by providing marching funds for selected projects that align to the economic agenda of the state government.
The SSG said one of the key agenda of the decision was to open up the rural areas to economic development activities in the area of agriculture and agro-allied industrialisation and encourage agro-allied processing zones and a land bank of 300,000 hectares for commercial farming.
“What we are planning to do is that the local governments are going to go into their communities. All the forest areas that may be locations for criminality, the local governments have agreed that they are going to open the areas.
“But the key thing is that they are going to enhance the economic activities in the rural area and open it up for economic activities to provide job opportunities for our teeming youths.
“It is a partnership where the state government brings 60 per cent of local governments’ 40 per cent. So, whatever they bring for those capital projects, the state government will match it to the tune of 60 per cent. But this is for specific, agreed projects between the state and the local governments,” the SSG further disclosed.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) Enugu State chapter, Hon. Sydney Okechukwu Edeh, who commended the Governor Mbah administration for the counterpart funding, said the partnership with the state government would help in the funding of priority projects that touch the lives of the people while also promoting transparency, accountability and traceability in the management of local government funds by the council areas.
“I think the governor has decided to come to our rescue, because we at the local government sector have been having a series of problems trying to execute capital projects.
“But with the state now offering to take up 60 per cent of the cost of approved projects, we will now be encouraged to not only execute so many projects, but also highly qualitative projects to the benefits of the rural communities and economies.
“The most important thing is that there is going to be transparency, traceability and accountability in what we are doing. So it is a partnership that must work, and we are good with it.
“As ALGON, we have assured the governor of our commitment and cooperation to make sure we move our state forward,” he added.