By Deji Abdulwahab
Abuja – World Bank on Thursday commended the staff and management of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) for effectively executing the project to make it a success story in the country.
Mrs Maria Savaf, the Bank’s Practice Manager, Department of Environment, made the commendation in Abuja when she made a maiden visit to the Minister of Environment, Alhaji Suleiman Zarma.
NEWMAP is a World Bank supported project launched in 2012 aimed at reducing the vulnerability of soil erosion in targeted catchment areas in the country.
Savaf, who led the World Bank team to brief the minister on NEWMAP and West Africa Coastal Areas Management Programme, attributed NEWMAP feat to its staff hard work.
According to her, the World Bank and Ministry of Environment have long time partnership.
“As World Bank, if we want to give example of what we do in the environment in West Africa, we will give example of NEWMAP as success story,’’ Savaf said.
She sought for the Federal Government’s legal support to facilitate additional financing for NEWMAP project.
“Going forward, the whole last year was very hard to get additional financing for NEWMAP and then one thing, may be, we will make a request on some helps to move it forward.
“Because up till now, additional financing has not been declared effected because we are still waiting for legal opinion.
“May be, this is something that I have to request the minister to talk to the Ministers of Justice and Finance to enable us start working on additional financing,’’ World Bank official said.
She also commended the Federal Government for including NEWMAP its 2019 National Budget proposal, urging the government to make its counterpart funding available to aid the implementation of the project.
Savaf said that the Bank had secured fund to conduct a preparatory study to prioritise plans for the nation’s coastal areas management programme.
Responding, Zarma, who thanked the World Bank for investing on the people and the nation’s environment, said that NEWMAP had gone a long way in addressing ecological problems in the country.
The Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, commended the World Bank for executing NEWMAP in his state.
Okeke restated the state government’s commitment to explore every opportunity to check gully erosion in the state. (NAN)