World Bank wants new governors to build infrastructure

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Officials of the World Bank and the United Kingdom (UK)’s Department of Foreign and International Development (DFID) yesterday challenged governors to direct their energies toward improving the lives of ordinary Nigerians.

Speaking during the formal induction/symposium organised by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) for newly elected governors at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the World Bank Representative in Nigeria, Onno Ruhl urged elected leaders to focus their attention on people-oriented projects that will capture the needs of the common man.

Mr. Ruhl, who lauded the passage of the Sovereign Wealth Fund
bill into law by the national assembly, said that the establishment of the fund will ensure that resources were available for the development of the infrastructure needed in the country.

“First lesson from the country’s election is that you must capture the aspirations and the mandate allows you to move this country to the next level. Nigeria is now ready to take off,” he said.

He said since the national assembly has passed the SWF, it means officials now have enough resources to provide the necessary infrastructures that are needed for effective development.

The Country director of the DFID, Richard Montgomery also said the forum must focus attention on job creation, improving internally generated revenues and helping businesses flourish.

What to focus on

“I want to pick up two issues that I feel are critical for the leadership in this room to convert to result. First is social and economic inclusion and second is public financial management; that is your budget,” Mr Montgomery said.

“We all know that Nigeria is a land of opportunity, but also laced with great challenges. But you all know the issue of preventable maternal deaths, over 100 million Nigerians are estimated to live below $1.25 a day, over four and half million young people enter the job market every year, so creating jobs for them is a top priority for Nigeria’s growth and sustainability.”

Mr. Montgomery said he believes that one of this decisive roles of the Governors’ Forum must be to help business flourish, help create jobs and generate more internal revenue.

“I have to say that as I travel around this country, at times I am disheartened by expensive projects that serves few while primary health, primary education and social services which serve many are starved of funds,” he said. “I will like all of you to think about primary services that will serve

The UK official said the last election “is a momentous milestone in Nigeria’s history” and one that has taken “Nigeria’s national and international reputation and expectation to a new level”.

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