Rivers releases N100m counterpart funding for EU water projects
Following calls by communities in the State, Rivers State Government has approved the immediate release of N100million as second tranche counterpart fund for the Rivers State Government/European Union Niger Delta Support Programme (RSG/EU NSDP) for two local government areas.
The government had earlier released the first tranche of counterpart fund of N100million to the EU Development Partners. The two benefiting local government areas are Akuku-Toru and Opobo-Nkoro.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Minister Counsellor of the European Union to Nigeria, Mr. Kurt Cornelis to the Government House, Port Harcourt, Governor Nyesom Wike noted that the fact that the State Government paid the first tranche of 50 per cent, proved its commitment to the project.
The governor urged the implementers of the Niger Delta Support Programme component three to be transparent as they award contracts for the projects.
“Water and sanitation remains key because they are close to the health of our communities. After this project, we expect the EU to give the state more grants, so that we can extend this to more local government areas “, Governor Wike said.
Earlier, Cornelis called for firm commitment from the State Government on the payment of the remaining 50 per cent counterpart fund for the RSG/EU NDSP Water and sanitation projects in Two LGAs.
According to him, the payment is required to determine the scope of the programme. He said that contracts for the programme would be signed in October.
The benefiting communities under the scheme – Abonnema, Abuse, Kula, Opobo, Nkoro and Kalaibiama had called on the state to complete its own part of fund of N200 million
Speaking in Port Harcourt, the Chairman of Federation of Akuku-Toru/Opobo/Nkoro Water Consumers Association, Mr. Iwarimie Diri, disclosed that the EU has remitted its 70 per cent, and the communities paid its five per cent, calling on the state governor, to release the remaining N100million of the state’s commitment to enable the people drink good water and stay out from disease outbreak.
Diri said, the call became necessary, as the EU gave the state government August 31, to release the fund or risk suspension of the project.
The Chairman, who informed that the governor was yet to give authorisation for the release of the money, pointed out that cancellation of the project would send a negative signal to the communities.
He said, “ If the 50 percent of the balance of the state’s commitment is not remitted on the project, it is clear that the project would be suspended, and that is a dangerous signal that may expose the people to cholera outbreak and other various diseases”.
“The Governor has promised to release the funds. He should listen to our cries and match his words with action for this project to kick-start”, he said.
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