The Federal Government on Tuesday said it will scale up the level of implementation for donor-financed projects in the country.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said this at a retreat for members of the National Assembly on process optimization in donor-financed projects in Nigeria.
The conference with theme, “Process optimization in donor-financed projects in Nigeria,” is part of effortsto foster a new level of synergy and collaboration with the National Assembly to further accelerate the level of implementation of donor financed programmes and projects in Nigeria.
The minister said the need to organize the retreat is predicated on the government’s desire to deliver planned projects for sustained growth and national development.
One of the critical sources of funds for the execution of key projects in Nigeria is through donor financing, especially, from multilateral bodies such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
However, notwithstanding the efforts and resources committed in procuring development financing for critical sectors of the economy to boost human capital development, improve infrastructure and service delivery as well as strengthen governance and institutions, the country appears not to have made the desired progress in this direction.
The minister while admitting the funding gap said that when borrowed funds fail to be properly utilized, growth is impaired and economic development is distorted.
She said, “An in-depth review of the level of implementation of the entire development projects reveal that delays in the execution of donor-funded projects stems from factors including bureaucratic bottlenecks, capacity challenges, political interference and challenges associated with obtaining varied and misaligned approvals processes between our local authorities and development partners.
“Accordingly, Nigeria ranks low compared to other nations of the world in terms of the level of implementation of World Bank funded projects.
“It is public knowledge that there have been increased public agitations against rising foreign debts levels. This has put immense pressure on government to ensure prudent management of resources, and improve transparency and accountability in the utilization of funds from Donor Agencies for maximum positive impact on the economy.
“This retreat organized by the Ministry for the Chairmen and members of the two relevant Committees of the National Assembly is in furtherance of our efforts towards unraveling the challenges associated with the implementation of donor-financed projects with a view to evolving ways to improve execution levels for national growth and development.
“It is also a clear demonstration of our firm belief in the critical role and importance of the National Assembly to Nigeria’s development drive.
“As critical stakeholders, it is our hope that this retreat would provide a veritable platform for all to ex-ray the issues and resolve to tackle them headlong.”
Ahmed expressed optimism that the outcome of the meeting will ultimately facilitate the elimination of avoidable delays in the implementation of donor-financed projects, increase levels of execution, improve effectiveness and efficiency in project implementation management and contribute to meeting Nigeria’s development objectives.