- The federal government has failed to meet the World Bank's deadline for the $160m job creation funding scheme
- The project known as Growth and Employment in States (GEMS) was expected to end on Friday, September 7
- According to the strategy and communications adviser in the ministry of industry, trade and investment, Bisi Daniels, only N3.7bn has been disbursed so far
Owing to its inability to utilise $160m job creation funding provided by the World Bank, the federal government has sought for 12 months extension to enable it to fully implement the project known as Growth and Employment in States (GEMS).
The plea for extension was in a letter signed by a director in the ministry of finance to the World Bank, Punch reports.
Whereas the GEMS project is expected to come to an end on Friday, September 7, only N3.7bn representing about 7.58 per cent of the fund (N48.8bn) has been disbursed within the period of five years that the implementation started.
This was according to the strategy and communications adviser in the ministry of industry, trade and investment, Bisi Daniels.
Some of the fund, at least $8.5m, has been expended on securing training for potential beneficiaries, consultancy services and on procuring personnel for the project.
Given the failure of the government to implement the project, some potential beneficiaries who had been trained and kept on standby for the fund had planned a demonstration in Abuja on Wednesday, September 5.
However, the planned demonstration leaked and the government mobilised to prevent it from taking place, with a promise that efforts were on to secure a grace period for the implementation of the project from the World Bank.
One of the people who worked on stopping the demonstration was Rita Nduonofit, a GEMS participant, who is also waiting to get the fund she applied for to boost her French fries’ business.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja, Nduonofit said that she worked on aborting the planned demonstration so as to avoid anything that could endanger the granting of an extension by the World Bank. Ndunofit said that a new strategy should be sought in order to achieve desirable results.
She said: “I am on two GEM groups and we were never informed of the protest nor made any contributions towards it and we would have loved to do that.
“At this point, I would like to appeal to us to stand down for now. I have been to the World Bank, called the World Bank Head Office and visited the ministry and have been told an extension of the project would be granted as soon as possible.”
With regards to the extension, the World Bank office in Nigeria has said that it was currently in discussions with the federal government.
Daniels further said that more than 21,191 micro, small and medium enterprises had received technical assistance from the government under the GEMS project.
Daniels said: “A total of N3.7bn has been disbursed to 910 grantees via the grant windows. Over 21,191 MSMEs have received technical assistance.
“A total of 1,457 applicants have received training, with 968 applicants receiving online training and 487 applicants receiving face to face training.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that Nigeria's former president Olusegun Obasanjo, on Saturday, June 29, expressed worry that if not adequately dealt with corruption will eat up more than 30% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, eventually.
Legit.ng gathered that the former president added that Africans should look inward and anchor on value reorientation, respectfulness, obedience and hard work if the continent must rise above its challenges.
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