Due to a number of alleged violations and poor program management by the Ebonyi State Government, the World Bank has threatened to cease operations in the state.
It alleged that state officials had misappropriated money from different donor organizations and given it to the state administration.
Following the threats, the Federal Government has written to Governor David Umahi through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, to intervene in the situation.
It was observed that the alleged embezzlement might damage the nation’s reputation and prevent such bank interventions, not only for the State but for the entire country.
The SGF, in the letter, listed the implementation agencies set to be shut down including Ebonyi State Community Based Social Development Agency (EB-CSDA), FADAMA, NCARES, and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The letter reads: “I am to convey the modest compliments of the Secretary to the Government. of the Federation and have the honor, to draw your Excellency’s attention to a report which revealed plans by the World Bank’s Project Implementation Agencies to shut down their offices in Ebonyi State”
The letter dated 31st of August 2022 and received at the Ebonyi State London Officer Abuja on September 1, 2022, was signed by one David Attah, a Director at the SGF’s office on behalf of Mustapha.
“The decision is a sequel to the alleged non-payment of counterpart funds, as well as misappropriation of funds of donor agencies by officials assigned by, the State Government, amongst other sundry reasons.
The SGF said that ‘according to the report, the Federal Government’s NG-CARES Program funded by the World Bank to alleviate the Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on citizens is yet to kick-start in the State despite the release of the first tranche of three million Dollars ($3m) In February 2022, by the Bank.
“Additionally, ‘EB-CSDA, FADAMA, and MSMEs beneficiaries are owed over twelve'(12) months arrears of salaries since July 2021”
“Consequently, the World Bank initiative designed to alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life of residents of the State stands to be scuttled with the non-payment of counterpart funds and other obligations”.
“This is even as the alleged anomalies In funds management could smear the country’s image as well as foreclose future intervention efforts by the bank and other global financial institutions,” Mustapha said.