Friday, 17 July 2020

C'River Ministry OF Int'l Dev't Corporation and the Role of Dev't Partners so far


17 July 2020

Inspired by the over 4 million strong population base of the state and the gene pool of some of the most entrepreneurial and industrious minds in the country that is concentrated in Cross River, the state Governor, His Excellency, Senator Prof. (Sir) Ben Ayade in 2015, created the Ministry of International Development Corporation (MIDC) to further industrialise and decouple the state from its civil service status. 

The Ministry of MIDC acting as a powerhouse and gateway between the state, local and foreign development partners is responsible for coordinating all donor funded projects in the state. The creation of the MIDC, without doubt, has added immeasurable value to the people's paradise developmental drive.

The MIDC is headed by a youthful technocrat, Hon. Dr. Inyang Asibong and has also been saddled with the responsibility of attracting first-world intervention programs to the state with the intention of selecting areas of critical urgent attention. 

Through the efforts of the Ministry, the European Union, WHO, World Bank, the United Nations and her sub-agencies like the UNHCR, UNFPA, UN-WOMEN, UNICEF and UNIDO, have so far identified areas of urgent attention and gone ahead to implement programs to service those concerns. This incredible progress was recorded by the new ministry in just 5 years of its existence. 

The bilateral and multilateral sections of its terms of reference, enables the MIDC to scout donor support for funding of projects in the state. As a pre-condition before lending support to state proposals, majority of World Bank assisted projects must be state-owned to guarantee sustainability. The state government MUST also provide counterpart funding and political cover for all donor projects to accelerate implementation. A typical example is the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Program (NEWMAP) intervention projects. Cross River state recently released its counterpart funding for the NEWMAP erosion projects for critical water torn sites across the state. 

Under the MIDC's watch, World Bank assisted programs like the State and Local Government Reforms Project (SLOGOR) is anchored in the Community and Social Development Program (CSDP). On this, the government approaches the local communities to identify and implement micro-projects with the aim to make a direct and immediate impact. Examples of projects that fall within the scope of the CSDP are provision of street lights, renovation of classroom blocks, basic water supply etc. 

Also, using the state's social register, the MIDC designed a template that made it possible for the Youth Empowerment and Social Support Program (YESSO) to be successfully implemented across the state with little hassle. YESSO's was the platform for the payment of COVID-19 monthly sustainable palliatives packages to the vulnerable and aged. The agile and youthful weren't left out; they underwent trainings and have been integrated into the scheme. 

The Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS), is another extension of the MIDC, inspired by His Excellency's concept of G-MONEY and is used to promote agricultural enhancement with the engagement of some 5,000 people in the agric value chain. 

Furthermore, the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES), is an upcoming program initiated by the MIDC to ensure sustainable palliatives support to communities, farmers, businesses and individuals in the state to cushion the aftermath of the global pandemic.  

Counterpart funding has since been provided by the state to enable UNICEF provide specific attention to the plight of women and children.

The UNDP is working in partnership with the MIDC to ensure the state is clean and green. This will be achieved through planting of trees and facilitating of programs aimed at discouraging deforestation.

Through the MIDC, the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Program (WSSSRP) for the supply of potable water is currently ongoing in selected communities across the state. 

Recently, a number of classroom blocks were commissioned in Biase and an agro scheme aimed at enhancing the production of Cassava and other staple farm produce, was initiated by the Honorable Commissioner in Abi LGA under the aegis of one of such developmental partners. 

Lastly, the state government in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is currently working towards expanding the Senator Prof. Ben Ayade industrialization drive across the state in line with the "Spirit of Enterprise" mantra of his administration.

©Eugene Upah is the Senior Special Assistant to Cross River Governor Ben Ayade on Public Communications.



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