1 July 2012

Nigeria: World Bank Seeks Faster Results in Nigerian Projects

Nigerian Project Teams have committed themselves to achieving faster results on World Bank-funded projects in the country. The project teams met in Abuja to discuss how to achieve faster results for Nigeria through improved project management and accelerated implementation.

Project coordinators, alongside their procurement, financial, and Monitoring & Evaluation staff from federal and state level implementation units, engaged in a review of their action plans to improve overall project performance and impact on the ground.

The two-day mini Country Programme Performance Portfolio Review was held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.

The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, told project staff all over the country to work as a strong team to deliver results on ground. She said to achieve greater results, there was a need for coordinated action and involvement of all stakeholders, to enhance project quality and disbursement.

The country director stressed "the need to be clear on our common purpose, namely, to make a difference for the people of Nigeria through our programmes. To this end, faster and more efficient project implementation is a step in the right direction and accelerating disbursement is an indication of progress in that direction".

She observed that the current disbursement ratio was low for some projects, and noted that 5 projects had not disbursed at all in the past three months. She stressed that "only a coordinated action and collective efforts can strengthen project quality and disbursement and ultimately deliver results."

Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, who attended the first session on Institutional Aspects of Project Management said, "There is nothing such as a World Bank Project independent of Government Project." The governor advocated better communication and consultation with Chief Executives on Bank-funded projects.

The Review was aimed at reviewing progress in implementation, discussing key implementation issues, and agreeing on specific actions to improve portfolio performance.

The meeting came up with specific recommendations on both cross-cutting themes such as institutional arrangements, fiduciary aspects, monitoring and evaluation, social and accountability; and project-related issues.

Participants agreed that to enhance implementation there should be better communication and consultation, constant briefing and involvement of key relevant Government officials and Chief Executives both at federal and state levels. It was agreed that the Governors Forum would henceforth be used to introduce the work of the World Bank-assisted projects to state authorities.

At the end of the review meeting, some participants described the meeting as extremely useful and innovative in its structure.

"The most important lesson from this workshop was that as PIU's we should collaborate more closely with the bank's team and our TTLs to solve problems with respect to project implementation," said Project Coordinator, Public Private Partnership Project, and ICRC, Sutura Aisha Bello.

The Commissioner of Water Resources and Project Coordinator, Cross River State, Elemi Etowa, said, "This meeting has buttressed the need for active involvement of beneficiaries from project identification stage through implementation to completion. The promotion of team work is also key to achieving great results."

On his part, Coordinator, Lagos Urban Transport Project-2, Dayo Mobereola, said, "I have learnt the need to enhance leadership and increase internal stakeholder awareness, participation and buy-in to broaden ownership of the project for multi-dimensional solutions to problems to ensure success of the project."

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