By Gabriel Enogholase
BENINâ€”EDO State government said yesterday that it has received a grant of N908, 994,440 under the 2008 Conditional Grant Scheme.
It also disclosed that the grant was matched with the state governmentâ€™s 50 percent Cash Counterpart Contribution, thus bringing the total amount to N1, 817,988,440.
The state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who disclosed this in Benin in a key note address he presented at a two-day workshop, â€œStep Down Training Workshop on 2009 Conditional Grant Scheme,â€ said it had become expedient to align projects under the scheme with the policy thrust of his administration.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Energy and Water Resources, Mr. Alex Okoh, added that the policy thrust of his government was to strengthen secondary healthcare system that had suffered over the years.
The plan of the government, he said, was to ensure the need to have a strong referral backup system for clusters of PHCs all over the states to strengthen emergency obstetrics cares system in the state.
The governor noted that it was gratifying to note that in its efforts to reduce maternal and child mortality rate in the state, free medical services for pregnant women and under-5 children had been introduced in all government-owned hospitals.
He described the Conditional Grant Scheme as a mechanism introduced by the Federal Government to leverage funds for the implementation of specific projects and programmes towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals in Edo State by 2015.
The governor said it was in pursuance of the Millennium Declaration to which Nigeria was a signatory that the federal government formulated a strategic frame work for the systematic attainment of the Millennium Development Goals by working through the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy incorporated into the Seven-point Agenda and the Vision 20 2020.
Edo state Head of Service, Dr. Simon Imuekhemhe, said one of the underlying principles of the Conditional Grant Scheme was to shore up investments in service delivery in the rural and under- served communities.
He added that the experience of poverty, particularly in rural areas, required that additional funds be leveraged to implement projects and improve access to social infrastructure to enhance the attainment of the goals of the MDGs.